First music composition performed with Google Glass premieres at UGA

Google Glass music composition


The University of Georgia's Director of Bands Cynthia Johnston Turner is using Google Glass in the classroom and researching its applications to music.


In the age of privacy debates and revelations of government electronic surveillance by Edward Snowden and others, University of Georgia Director of Bands Cynthia Johnston Turner has a message for Google.


That message came in the form of music during the public premiere of the first music composition inspired by, composed for and performed with Google Glass. The piece, performed on Nov. 12, was a feature presentation during UGA's annual Spotlight on the Arts festival, which included more than 60 events in the performing, literary and performing arts.


"Adwords/Edward," was commissioned by Turner, who is conducting research with Google Glass in the classroom and on the conductor's podium at the university's Hugh Hodgson School of Music. The name of the composition references Google's online advertising service, Adwords, and Snowden's first name.


"This is a piece for our time that speaks to the concept of privacy. Is privacy an outdated concept now? I don't know," Turner said. "Every time we put Google Glass on, is Google listening? Yes. Every time you do a search with Google, are they listening? Yes. Are they taking our data? Yes. We are in very interesting, scary, provocative times, and that is what this piece is about."


Turner became a beta tester for Google Glass last year after winning Google's #ifIhadGlass contest. Her research, which has included the creation of a metronome app and experiments on viewing a musical score through the Glass prism, is funded by a Consortium of College and University Media Centers grant.


A discussion of Turner's Google Glass lab followed the performance of "Adwords/Edward."


"It's modern; it speaks to technology; it has a cool groove; it's really hip. It's an interesting genre-bender. I like music that does that. Is it pop music? Is it serious modern so-called classical music? Do those pillars of genres matter anymore?" Turner said, describing the composition written for bass clarinet, piano and drums, with an electronic component and vocals, written by Kevin Ernste of Cornell University. "It's still classical music in the sense that it is minimalist, but it also has this kind of neat groove. And it has a message."


For more information on Turner's experiments with Google Glass, see Blog posts are available at


About Spotlight on the Arts
Presented by the UGA Arts Council, the third annual Spotlight on the Arts featured more than 60 events in the visual, literary and performing arts. The nine-day festival, Nov. 6-14, included museum tours, discussions with writers and concerts, including a free outdoor concert on College Square. For more information on the Arts Council and its initiatives, go to, and follow the Arts at UGA on Facebook or Twitter.