Personal Research Project

Due: Wed, March 29

This shall be an experimental sound synthesis project that you execute independently. It may take the form of a live performance, an audio/video/audio-video recording that is presented in class, an installation that is set up in the Media Lab (or some nearby location), or a research presentation. You will have five minutes total in which to present so make sure you are ready to rock at the drop of a hat. If you choose to present research you will be expected to present a tight, compelling, informative, and insightful slideshow and discussion.

Project 3: Sound of Go

Due: Wed, March 22

In this project you will sonify the ancient game of Go (a/k/a “Weiqi” a/k/a “Baduk”). You may use any type of input you like from the board and stones. For example, you could use a webcam and computer vision to track the black and white stones and use their positions to control musical parameters such as pitch, timbre, tempo, etc. You could add sensors to the board or stones and use the sensor values to control sounds. You could also use the sound of the game itself as the input to your musical system. Whatever route you choose your goal is to make a compelling listening/viewing experience that demonstrates insight to the game.

Some example starter patches for a computer-vision route have been added to the course Github repo. Have a good game!

Project 2: Real Time is Real

Project 2 will be a performance-based project that combines real-time human performance with real-time computer performance.

The human performance aspect may be using a traditional music instrument or any other kind of sound-making object. It may also be a human performance of an electronic instrument or system.

The computer performance aspect should use some kind of generative/algorithmic/stochastic process to generate or process sound in realtime. This may be processing the sounds of the human performer, or producing some kind of accompaniment.

Project 2 will be presented in class on Monday, Feb 27. Each group should be completely ready to present at the start of class so make sure you are well-rehearsed before then. Your performance can be anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes in duration, whatever is appropriate for your work. As always, carefully consider every aspect of how the work is experienced including the placement of the audience relative to performers/gear, lighting, entrances/exits, etc.

For inspiration I include here art for an album by one of my former teachers in which the artist is seated up a very large cake and holding a synthesizer with a giant clock on the wall behind him. There also seems to be another giant clock underneath the cake. The title of the album is “Real Time” so this is definitely #relevant.

Project 1: Soundfields

Due date: Mon, February 6.  Be prepared to present your piece to the class for critique.  You will have a maximum of 10 minutes for set-up, so rehearse your presentation in advance. For our first project 1 you will create a multi-channel sound collage based on field recordings that may be processed in any way.  Your piece may create a narrative or emotional journey, or it may evoke a sense of space – the artistic direction is entirely up to you. The only requirement is that the sounds you use are actual field recordings – they should come from a real acoustic space.  Recordings of nature, human activities, and machines are all great starting places. You may also use traditional music sounds – the performance of instruments, synthesized sounds, existing music recordings, etc. – but these musical sounds must be recorded, by you, in a real acoustic space.  For example, if you want to use a drum machine you should connect it a speaker and set the speaker up in an interesting acoustic situation – in a nice sounding room, or out on the sidewalk with traffic passing by.  Or if you want to use a sample from a pop song, you should play the music through speakers in a situation that transforms the sound – i.e. a reverberant parking garage or stairwell so the sound is transformed by existing in the acoustic world.  All the sounds we use should create a sense of place.