Love New York, but beeping subway turnstiles bringing you down?
In a panel at Yale University, Murphy along with musician David Byrne and WNYC's John Schaefer discussed music in terms of mass media and digital advancements. Murphy proposed his musical turnstile contraption:
All the subway turnstiles in New York City…make a beep. It’s a really unpleasant sound and the one that’s right next to it is slightly out of key with it. So, it’s like “ehhh….aehhh…uehhh” Unless you get it wrong and it’s like, “No!” Then it’s the sound of your bruised hip as you hit the thing…
So I thought, I love New York and I love its aggression, and I love that it doesn’t make it easier for you to be a member of the city…But, I wanted to change the sound of going through the turnstile to a series of notes - I could do a little program. I could be like, well, the dominant note is the root, this is the fifth, this is the third, have a couple of sevenths, throw a few sixths in there just to be crazy. And during rush hour it would make arpeggiated music. And each subway station could have its own key or tonal set. For me, for a new person going to work, I think it would just be nice. It would be hard not to like that more than “shut up, idiot, you’re walking so slow!”
It would be an interesting way to have people relate to the city and I didn’t think it would be that expensive…if anybody knows anybody?
A similar melodious installation appeared at the 34th Street Herald Square station in February, where "Reach New York: An Urban Musical Instrument" gave straphangers a chance to create music and "environmental sound images."
For more on Murphy and Byrne's conversation, listen below: