Sonic Pass Blue

Christopher Janney’s Sonic Pass Blue—for the City University of New York’s Lehman College—transforms a 100 foot long pedestrian walkway into a “synaesthetic environment” through the use of colored glass, light, sound and pedestrian interaction. The piece consists of a series of eleven photo-electric sensors, eleven speakers and a polyphonic sound sampler. Together, this system creates an ever-changing series of “sound images” as people pass through the space. The actual score is composed of melodic and environmental sounds, from the natural landscape of the area and from the New York Zoological Society, creating a “sonic portrait” of the Lehman College surroundings. Sonic Pass Blue is designed so interested music and visual/media arts students have the chance to experiment with the piece.


Good morning,

My name is Shaker and I am an undergraduate student that would like to work with the Sonic Pass Blue instrument at Lehman. I am currently in my senior year here at Lehman and I am majoring in Computer Graphics and Imaging here at Lehman’s art department. My personal hobbies include music composition and sound design, woodworking and running.

I’ve walked through Sonic Pass Blue almost every day for the past year and a half. And I listen every time to hear what it will produce next. I hear frogs (I think), birds and synthesized tones; I also hear the tones moving through the chromatic scale as I pass underneath. Sometimes I jump around or walk cris-crossed to try and produce a new combination. When there is many people passing through Sonic Pass Blue, the sounds are all mashed up into a type of noise that I think is an accurate idea of what New York sounds like. While my studies have been rigorous and challenging here at Lehman, I always look forward to walking through Sonic Pass Blue. It has captured my imagination and it is a highlight of my day.

Thank you for building this instrument!

Best Regards,


Project credits:

Jamie Coccolutto/Project Manager; Mark Wong/MIDI Programmer; Jennifer McGregor.

Project sponsors:

AKAI Electronics; Bose Corporation; Solutia Corporation; Apple Computer.