Submitted photo Interactive music composer and Mt. Vernon native Aaron Hoke Doenges installed his work “Wade [Music for River and People]” in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, during April and May.

Aaron Hoke Doenges

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Expanding the definition of what is considered a songwriter in music city, composer Aaron Hoke Doenges helped Nashville area rivers write interactive music on the city’s iconic pedestrian bridge. To achieve this, Doenges downloaded information about local rivers from the United States Geological Survey website and translated it into music. The waters changing depths and speeds created the work’s notes and volumes in real time as it was reflected in the data. Simultaneously, when people moved across the bridge, these musical elements were altered. The more the audience moved on the bridge, the greater the changes in the music.

According to Doenges, “Wade” evolved out of his love for both the outdoors and music that began in Mount Vernon. Growing up next to the Mount Vernon Nazarene University campus, Doenges said he spent many summers on the banks of Delano Run catching frogs and building rock dams.

“This is where I first felt connected to the world around me,” he noted.

During that time he began playing the piano at home, learned the trumpet in the Mount Vernon City School’s band program, and studied music composition at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Combining these two interests through technology driven music reflects Doenges’ desire to turn the tools of data collection and surveillance into collective artistic expression.

“Sometimes it seems like we want data about our lives more than the experience of living them,” he said. “This piece is a way to take that information and turn it back into an experience that is collaboratively created. It is only fully realized by community participation.” He wants to use instruments intended as deterrents to bring people together for shared creativity.

“Wade [Music for River and People]” was installed on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Nashville from April 5-May 23. Doenges currently lives in Nashville. He is working in the studio on several new projects, and is looking for additional locations to install “Wade [Music for River and People]” on pedestrian bridges and in riverside parks around the country. For more information about the project, visit



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