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Composers to Set High Line to Music With iPhone App

By Mathew Katz | December 20, 2011 7:05am

CHELSEA — What happens when the High Line becomes a song, and each person's steps becomes a note? A group of composers are hoping to find out on Wednesday.

Three local musicians have teamed up with a programmer to create "The Gaits," a combination of a song and an iPhone app that will turn the steps of dozens of vistors to the High Line into a tune.

The app plays notes of a song composed by musicians Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson and Cameron Britt, for every step that a listener takes on the High Line.

Stretching the park's length from Gansevoort Street and West 30th Street, each footfall produces a chirp, strum, horn, whistle, gong, or even a bird call. The faster you walk, the faster the song plays for you.

People with
People with "The Gaits" app can hear a song as they walk the length of the High Line.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

On Wed. Dec. 21 at 5:15 p.m, dozens of step-by-step musicians will gather with their iPhones and belt-mounted speakers to produce a cacophony of sound that organizers hope can be a kind of soundtrack for the High Line. Participants can download "The Gaits" app at the iTunes store.

The event is one of dozens of musical parades being organized by Make Music New York, which typically runs outdoor concerts in the summer.

"The song is twinkling more than anything," said Fefferman, who herself lives near the High Line. "It's very wintery, very holiday-inspired. It's — dare I say it — pretty."

The app itself was designed by programmer Dan Iglesia, and takes advantage of the iPhone's built-in GPS and motion sensor to deliver a new note with each individual step. Multiply that by the people organizers hope will show up for Wednesday's event, and you've got dozens of different ways the song itself can play out.

"We wanted to give people the most freedom possible while they're walking," Fefferman said.

Fefferman said that if the event is popular enough, they'll consider turning it into an annual one, possibly with a new song every year.

"With any luck, we'll be able to make a good ruckus," she said.