1. About us

  2. This is about how we make music...

What is Blind Ear?

Blind Ear is the brainchild of composers Jakub Ciupinski and Cristina Spinei. Founded in 2009, Blind Ear presents concerts that combine new music with new technology. Our Blind Ear composers who are involved in every concert are Ryan Francis, Ray Lustig, Adam Schoenberg.

Blind Ear is about developing a new way of composing and performing music. We use a network of laptops to create compositions in real-time.

For Blind Ear concerts we don’t write new pieces, we write loops...

What is a Loop?

We've borrowed the concept of loops from pop music and have imported it to the concert music world. Unlike avant-garde composers who have used loops before, we use them as the basic building blocks for a musical piece. One of the composer of Blind Ear group, Ryan Francis, came up with a following definition:

In general, the smallest compositional unit is not a single note but a single loop. And once we have our own “library” of loops we can create compositions in real-time. For this to happen we need the right technology.


When we started Blind Ear there was no technology available that would allow us to use loops in real time with a group of classically trained musicians. We needed software built around the same paradigm as Ableton Live.

In Ableton Live you can place different electronic loops in slots on different tracks and trigger them whenever you want. A single loop will repeat until you switch to another loop on the same track. The problem with live musicians is that they are not machines (which is definitely not a bad thing!) and they need to see their music notated in order to play. We had to develop a new software.

This part of the project was Jakub's responsibility. He wrote the software based on the idea of wi-fi connected laptops used as communication tool between a composer and a performer. The basic idea looks like this:

There are two types of programs: Master and Slave. Master is used by a composer to send loops to musicians, and Slave is displaying the score in front of the musician.

Master is quite complex, with many options of synchronization, sorting loops, triggering them, controlling dynamics, sending text messages to musicians, etc., and looks like this:

Slave is much simpler. It only displays the information needed by the performer: notes, dynamics, text messages from the composer, and the red pointer indicating current position in the score. This is what the performer would see on the screen (yes, we work only with the best sight-readers):

This software allows us to control what musicians are playing and make sure that they are always synchronized. No conductor. Just a composer, performers and laptops.

Jakub also wrote the extension of this program to synchronize our loops with Ableton Live, so we usually have electronic loops as well.

The real-time composition system is an extension of traditional ways of music performance and composition. In every era new technology has guided and shaped the direction of contemporary arts making it easier for artists to communicate their vision. This system gives composers the capability to communicate directly with musicians in real-time, and the flexibility to create a unique soundscape at the click of a mouse.

Incorporating dance, video and lights...

It was just a matter of time before we started thinking about expanding our real-time control idea. Jakub extended the software to be able to control not only musicians but also dancers, video, and lights. Dancers receive messages triggering “dance loops” through wireless headsets, video loops can be triggered together with audio loops, and lights can react to dynamics that we send to our musicians. This is how it looks with dancers, video and synchronized lights:

Watch our introductory video:


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The Group:

● any number of musicians

● one real-time composer

● composer operates the master computer

● each musician has a laptop connected

to the master computer via wi-fi

Basic flow:

● real-time composer sends the music to different players during the performance

● musical notation is displayed in front of each musician on the laptop screen


● there is no conductor

● players see visual cues showing them which notes they are supposed to play at any given moment.

● to further improve synchronization, each player has his own earphones with a click-track (short sounds “clicking” the beat)

We love loops!

Each performance is based on pre-composed loops (short fragments of music, usually few bar long). Having basic building blocks, composers can free their minds in to create spontaneous, unique compositions. This concept is a blend of composition and improvisation. 

Instant feedback

Instant feedback is a unique advantage in this kind of music creation. The composer can instantly hear the music, interpretation of players, acoustics of the venue, subtle atmosphere of the moment, and compose the music real time according to all these factors.



Composer can write any message to any player during the performance describing desired dynamics, expression, technique, etc.

Phasing effects

Since each click-track is independent, musicians can be purposely desynchronized in order to achieve interesting effects such as phasing, delays, controlled aleatorism, etc.

Live Electronics 

in addition to acoustic music instruments, real-time composer also controls electronic sounds played through loudspeakers.

“Loops are short musical phrases that are intended to be repeated and combined to make a larger musical structure”