The Old Royal Naval College is delighted to announce the installation of Tonesight, a motion-sensing musical ‘machine’ which uses music, movement and audio description to interpret the Painted Hall for for blind and partially sighted people.

Conceived by musician and music teacher Richard Navarro and student Cal Hewitt, Tonesight is a computer based system which reacts to hand movement to play different musical motifs - using gesture recognition technology to detect a visitor’s movement, conjuring a real-time musical representation of the artwork based on the position of their hand.

The music recorded has been created by a group of talented composers including students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys. Led by Navarro, the group have carefully interpreted the artwork to write short, looped musical motifs. Each musical piece was composed and recorded live in the Painted Hall, reflecting the ceiling’s scale, detail and vibrancy.

How does it work?

One person at a time can conjure music by pointing and ‘playing’ different parts of the Painted Hall’s ceiling above their heads, made possible through the careful fixing of motion sensors distributed around the body of the device that ‘reads’ the hand movements of those within its boundary zone.

Wherever the user points on the ceiling, speakers or headphones play a corresponding sound. Pointing closer to the ceiling will ‘zoom in’ on one of the sounds, and pulling back towards the body will play more sounds together, combining the layers of sound and offering a sense of the painting as a whole.

Will there be audio description available too?

A button allows each user the choice between music only, audio description with music or audio description only.

The audio description of the ceiling’s various images has been recorded in collaboration with the Old Royal Naval College experts, providing users the option of including audio-description to tell you where on the painting you are ‘playing’.


Painting the Sky

2 July, 6 - 8:30pm, Greenwich Music Time Stage

In culmination of Tonesight, Richard Navarro and the Old Royal Naval College present a night of music, dance and image to celebrate this year's relaunch of the Painted Hall.

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Tonesight will be available for use in the Painted Hall from the beginning of July for the duration of the summer. Plan your visit today