Leonardo Music Journal, Vol. 29 | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University
Journal Issue ToC (View block): 



Articles and Notes

  • Sounding Dispersal as a Route to Empathy with the Changing Arctic
    Get at MIT Press

    This article elaborates on the new media musical project The Matter of the Soul: its background, theoretical approach, methods and realization. The Matter of the Soul is a musical, sculptural and performance work. It aims to engender empathy in humans with the process of dispersal and transformation in the Arctic amid the climate crisis. The work draws an analogy between human migration, the movement of water from ice to ocean in the Arctic and changing identity online.

  • The Music of the Trees: The Blued Trees Symphony and Opera as Environmental Research and Legal Activism
    AVIVA Rahmani
    Get at MIT Press

    The Blued Trees project is a transdisciplinary thought experiment, physically manifested across miles of the North American continent. It melds ideas about music, acoustics, art and environmental policy. Hundreds of GPS-located individual trees in the path of proposed natural gas pipelines were painted with a sine wave sigil. Each “treenote” contributed to an aerially perceivable composition employing the local terrain. The score is the formal skeleton for systemic changes challenging several laws. A mock trial explored how this project might open new directions in legal activism for Earth rights and contribute to an operatic libretto.

  • Hyperreal Instruments: Bridging VR and Digital Fabrication to Facilitate New Forms of Musical Expression
    Anıl Çamcı, Juan Luis Suíçrez
    Get at MIT Press

    Virtual Reality (VR) and digital fabrication technologies today are ushering in a new wave of opportunities in instrument design; the marriage of these two domains, seemingly at odds with each other, can bring impossible instruments to life. In this article, the authors first sample such instruments throughout history. The authors also look at how technology has facilitated the materialization of impossible instruments from the twentieth century on. They then discuss the bridging of VR and fabrication as a new frontier in instrument design, where synthetic sounds can be used to condition an equally synthetic sensory scaffolding upon which the time-varying spectra can be interactively anchored: The result is new instruments that can defy our sense of audiovisual reality while satisfying our proprioceptive and haptic expectations. The authors report on their ongoing work as well as their projections of how emerging technologies in VR and fabrication will shape the design of new musical interfaces.

  • Respire: Virtual Reality Art with Musical Agent Guided by Respiratory Interaction
    Kıvanç Tatar, Mirjana Prpa, Philippe Pasquier
    Get at MIT Press

    Respire is an immersive art piece that brings together three components: an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment, embodied interaction (via a breathing sensor) and a musical agent system to generate unique experiences of augmented breathing. The breathing sensor controls the user’s vertical elevation of the point of view under and over the virtual ocean. The frequency and patterns of breathing data guide the arousal of the musical agent, and the waviness of a virtual ocean in the environment. Respire proposes an intimate exploration of breathing through an intelligent mapping of breathing data to the parameters of visual and sonic environments.

  • Algorithmic Spatialization Using Object-Based Audio and Indoor Positioning System
    Yuan-Yi Fan
    Get at MIT Press

    The author presents a novel compositional framework to guide designing interplay between moving listeners and sound objects in space. Demonstrated by a case study of interactive octophonic installation, the presented framework offers new ways to articulate and analyze artistic interplay using real-world location context as a spatial composition canvas.

  • Mimesis, Murakami and Multimedia Art: Parallel Worlds in Performance
    Chaz Underriner
    Get at MIT Press

    The artistic techniques of mimesis—the representation of reality in art—make it possible to “render the unreal familiar or the real strangely unfamiliar.” The author, a composer and intermedia artist, uses mimetic techniques in acoustic composition, video art and field recording to reimagine everyday experience, as in his multimedia piece Landscape: Home. The author analyzes passages from the novel Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami to understand Murakami’s use of “parallel worlds” and the “reality effect.” This literary analysis aims to highlight the potential of mimetic techniques for artistic practice in sound and image, particularly in the author’s Landscape series.

  • Reducing the Effect of Imperfect Microphone and Speaker in Audio Feedback Systems
    Get at MIT Press

    An audio feedback system that iteratively uses a room as a sound filter can be an artistic medium generating fascinating sounds. In this system, the room is not the only component acting as a filter. The sound system component, i.e. the speaker and microphone, also can have a sizeable impact on the sound in each iteration. To make sure the relative influence of the room on the sound is revealed and not masked by the audio system, the author proposes using a common calibration method at the end of each iteration. The mathematical model of the system is used to explain the reasoning behind the use of this method. Following this procedure, the author conducted an experiment that shows sound interaction with the room over time being captured in the artwork.

  • 3D Notations and the Immersive Score
    David Kim-Boyle, Julien d'Huy
    Get at MIT Press

    The author discusses his use of generative three-dimensional notations for representing musical forms. Several key works, programmed in the Max/OpenGL platform, are described in detail, and the author discusses current development with Microsoft’s HoloLens. The author argues that such immersive technology promotes a physical engagement with the score in which the work is an emergent property of an open-ended play.

  • A Computational System for Violin: Synthesis and Dissolution in Windowless
    Seth Dominicus Thorn
    Get at MIT Press

    This article provides an overview of a real-time, hybrid computational system for the violin, Windowless. The system uses a custom sensor glove, the alto.glove, to track the violinist’s movements and drive a panoply of unique digital sound processing effects. The author describes the operations of the system in terms of a broad notion of synthesis, consistency, microintervallic motions and molecular operations. A threefold approach combining dense sonic physics, “loose” computational procedures and high system responsiveness creates a rich and thick performative medium with a vapor-like, particulate level of textural and bitwise computational detail.

  • The Musical Geometry of Genes: Generating Rhythms from DNA
    Alvaro Yanez
    Get at MIT Press

    DNA encodes all sorts of information that makes us human, but, aside from encoding genes, could DNA also encode for a mapping of musical rhythms in a very abstract way? This project sought to generate rhythms out of DNA and compose a musical piece out of a gene’s rhythmic sequence. Computational rules inspired by geometric analyses of rhythms guided the mapping of DNA’s molecular structure into rhythmic timelines and melodic scales; these basic structures were then used to compose a song according to the sickle cell gene DNA sequence. The rhythms generated by this “genetic analysis” alternate pleasantly between even and odd time signatures.

  • The Loom Machines of Boott Mill (Lowell): A Composition from the New England Soundscape Project
    Daniel A. Walzer
    Get at MIT Press

    The author reports on the development of an original piece, Boott Mill (Lowell), in which he takes field recordings of loom machines from the Boott Mill Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, and uses the recordings as the foundation for a fully realized composition featuring percussion, strings, keyboards and assorted musical textures.

  • Application of Musical Computing to Creating a Dynamic Reconfigurable Multilayered Chamber Orchestra Composition
    Alexis Kirke
    Get at MIT Press

    With increasing virtualization and the recognition that today’s virtual computers are faster than hardware computers of 10 years ago, modes of computation are now limited only by the imagination. Pulsed Melodic Affective Processing (PMAP) is an unconventional computation protocol that makes affective computation more human-friendly by making it audible. Data sounds like the emotion it carries. PMAP has been demonstrated in nonmusical applications, e.g. quantum computer entanglement and stock market trading. This article presents a musical application and demonstration of PMAP: a dynamic reconfigurable score for acoustic orchestral performance, in which the orchestra acts as a PMAP half-adder to add two numbers.

  • Approaches to Composition in Visual Music: An Artist’s Reflection on Three Original Pieces
    Dave Payling, François Rose
    Get at MIT Press

    This article discusses the author’s visual music compositional practice in the context of similar work in this field. It specifically examines three pieces created between 2015 and 2017 that fused digital animation techniques with electronic sound. This approach contrasted with the author’s earlier compositions, which featured electroacoustic music and video concrète.

  • The Rhythmotron
    John R. Taylor, Andrew J. Milne
    Get at MIT Press

    This paper describes the Rhythmotron: a percussion-centered robotic orchestrion, commissioned for the CoLABS festival in Sydney in 2017. The authors describe how they electronically reimagined the mechanical components of a cylinder piano by using a variant of the XronoMorph software, and they consider the synergy between algorithmically generated rhythms in a digital environment alongside its analogous mechanical counterpart. The authors detail the idiosyncratic behaviors of linear actuators when used to power drumming robots, and they discuss the aesthetic implications of the Rhythmotron.

  • Summerland: Exploring the Intersection of Spiritualism and Technology at the Dawn of the Electrical Age
    Matthew Ostrowski, Kim Sawchuk
    Get at MIT Press

    The author describes Summerland, a generative installation for 24 computer-controlled telegraph sounders. This work uses texts from Samuel F.B. Morse and his contemporary, the Spiritualist medium Kate Fox, as source material, driving the sounders through both linguistic and spectral encoding of their words.

  • Flow Vertical: Composing and Improvising Original Music Inspired by Bodily Sound Vibrations
    Jasna Jovicevic, Sarah Drury
    Get at MIT Press

    This text analyzes the process of composing and improvising the musical experiment Flow Vertical. This artistic exploration for chamber orchestra responds to a theory of biosignals, incorporating a putative sonic mapping of “inaudible” sound vibration of the author’s biofield as understood to be measured by an SCIO device. The interpretation and representation of measured frequencies influenced the creation of an “assemblage,” the system of interconnected human and nonhuman agents within the piece. The artist applied an original eight-week-long method of creation, investigating how this idea of body vibration and a specific yogic routine could aesthetically affect music.

  • Enacting Sonic-Cyborg Performance through the Hybrid Body in Teka-Mori and Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin?
    Aurie Hsu, Steven Kemper
    Get at MIT Press

    In “A Cyborg Manifesto,” Donna Haraway explores implications of the increasing hybridization of humans and machines. While society has long been concerned with the encroachment of technology onto human activity, Haraway challenges this concern, suggesting instead a kinship between organism and machine, a hybrid body. A sonic-cyborg performance realizes this understanding of the human-machine hybrid through movement and sound, incorporating a “kinesonic” approach to composition and an exploration of “mechatronic” expression. In this article, the authors describe their approach to enacting sonic-cyborg performance by outlining the creative framework and associated technologies involved in two collaborative pieces that explore questions of fluidity between organism and machine: Teka-Mori and Why Should Our Bodies End at the Skin?

  • Sound Appropriation and Musical Borrowing as a Compositional Tool in New Electroacoustic Music
    Juan Carlos Vasquez
    Get at MIT Press

    This text presents a compact historical survey of musical borrowing and sound appropriation from medieval chant through the latest digital experiments outside popular music involving extensive use of sampling. It then describes two artistic research projects consisting of a series of pieces that digitally reimagine selected works from the classical music repertoire, including thoughts about the contemporary relevance of giving new life to classical music through the perspective of new media.

  • Nam June Paik’s Unpublished Korean Article and His Interactive Musique Concrète Projects
    Byeongwon Ha, Jason Farman Jason Farman
    Get at MIT Press

    Nam June Paik was a pioneering creator of interactive sound art before he became a cult figure in the field of video art. While Paik gradually developed interactive sound art in West Germany, he wrote several articles about contemporary music in Europe. Specifically, a musique concrète article for Korean readers is significant as a seed of his interactive projects. This study examines the content of the music article and articulates the relationship between musique concrète and Paik’s interactive sound projects: Record Shashlik (1963) and Random Access (1963).

LMJ29 Audio Companion



Leonardo Music Journal, Vol. 29

December 2019