An experimental music app for New York’s High Line park


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If you’re heading to New York any time soon, we suggest you pack a warm hat, and also download The Gaits, a new music app that provides a musical accompaniment to a walk along New York’s High Line park with the help of four composers and the listener’s footsteps.

The app uses the phone’s accelerometer to turn each step into the twinkling metallic sounds of electric guitar chords, dulcimer notes, water splashes, car horns and applause. It also uses geolocating technology, so it knows where you are in the park, and when you’ve stopped for a break on a bench. When you do take a seat, the sounds generated by the app will change to indicate ‘you are resting now.’


The Gaits was developed by four composers and produced by Friends of the High Line and Make Music New York, in association with MATA, a nonprofit that commissions new works from young composers.

In the description of the app on iTunes, the makers suggest you wear small portable speakers while you create and enjoy your personal High Line musical experience. Used this way, the creators suggest that iPhones ‘become instruments effortlessly played by strolling, sauntering, or sprinting down the High Line.’

That’s a nice idea, but also kind of weird. However, we’d totally be down to try this with headphones.

Sadly, this app can be used only if you are walking on the High Line, but we look forward to a day when digital composers score all other types of walking experiences. How cool would it be to have an app like this during a hike in the Grand Canyon, or a walk on the Venice boardwalk?


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--Deborah Netburn

Video: Preview of The Gaits: a High Line Soundwalk, by Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, Cameron Britt and Daniel Iglesia. Produced by Friends of the High Line for Make Music Winter.Credit: YouTube.