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A commission: design and build a new gamelan app

Author: Good Vibrations

National charity, Good Vibrations is calling for developers to submit proposals to design and build a new gamelan music app. Developers who are interested should view and download the full brief here. Deadline for applications is 12pm on the 19th October 2020.

Some of our aims, in commissioning this new digital gamelan, are to:

  • Enable novices, professionals and those in between to create and practise music on their own and with others using an accurate and authentic sounding digital gamelan orchestra
  • Help Good Vibrations continue generating positive personal, social and musical impacts for its target beneficiaries when our usual group gamelan projects can’t run
  • Help Good Vibrations continue generating positive impacts with participants post-project through a non-formal learning progression option that reinforces skills they developed and memories they experienced during their project with us
  • Enhance the experience for those already using digital gamelan, by improving the functionality offered, and maintaining the product robustly so its benefits are long-term
  • Generate another potentially impactful product and approach to add to Good Vibrations’ offer, to benefit a wider range of people in more ways in the future
  • Further widen access to the gamelan – enabling people to experience gamelan who can’t access a real gamelan orchestra or who are disinclined to give it a go

Good Vibrations remains committed to human, in person, group gamelan work remaining at the heart of what we do as a charity. We want to develop a virtual, technology-enabled strand using a digital gamelan to enhance our current offer, rather than replace it.

Date: 17 September 2020

Questions and answers about the commission: last updated 6 October 2020

Here is a list of questions people have put to us about this commission since advertising it, and the answers we have given:

Q: “It has to *at least as good as* the one Wells Music School did a few years ago (Virtual Gamelan, sadly now – I think – unavailable) …”

A: “Yes, the, @UniOfYork R&D report and our feasibility study reached a similar conclusion! The brief we’ve put together name checks several highly rated past/existing digital gamelan and we are very keen for their developers to consider submitting a proposal for this new commission.

Q: “I was assuming this app was just meant for gamelan musicians, and given the partnership with The University of York, they would develop the app. Is that not correct?”

A. “No, we want this gamelan app to be both 1) Accessible for complete beginners and 2) Able to provide quite advanced functionality and features to experienced gamelan musicians. We know this is a huge ask! We recognise that our desired functionality, as set out in the brief, may only be able to be achieved in phased developments over time. We want prospective developers to have the confidence to present their proposals for that phasing to us. This is a project we value and want to support and develop long-term. We see the multitude of benefits it could bring – see the brief for full details of these. And, yes, this is a partnership project with The University of York, but we are opening out this commission to everyone to be fair and to increase the chances of us gaining more diverse proposals from a wide variety of developers. We are also keen for people who have already developed an gamelan app to consider joining forces with us on this commission, to develop something even more accessible, with more functionality as per what the research says users want, and what Good Vibrations anticipates its target audiences will benefit from.”

Q: “Would you be willing to accept a proposal a few days late in case of setbacks?”

A: “Our planned schedule between the deadline for proposals and us shortlisting them is very tight. Therefore if you are considering submitting a proposal, but there are extenuating circumstances affecting you, please submit your proposal by the deadline, with a covering note explaining what you have not yet been able to set out in more detail because of these circumstances. In that way, we will be able to get a sense of the direction in which you are going with your proposal, and still consider it, taking into account your extenuating circumstances.”

Q: “Is this opportunity only open to UK developers?”

A: “No, it is open to everyone.”

Q. “Is Good Vibrations expecting all the desired features and functionality in the brief to be delivered in one phase, before April 2021?”

A. “No, we appreciate this this is an extremely ambitious brief, and we want developers to tell us in their proposals, how they would propose breaking up the project into phases, and what could be delivered for what cost during each phase.”