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With a Wave of My Voice. by Matthew Peters Warne Featuring Gwen Hughes, Vocals Committee: Dr. Sha Xin Wei, LCC, Chair Dr. Eugene Thacker, LCC Dr. Steven Everett, Emory, Music. Project Overview. Project Goals: Examine the voice as a gestural controller

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with a wave of my voice

With a Wave of My Voice

by Matthew Peters Warne

Featuring Gwen Hughes, Vocals

Committee:

Dr. Sha Xin Wei, LCC, Chair

Dr. Eugene Thacker, LCC

Dr. Steven Everett, Emory, Music

project overview
Project Overview
  • Project Goals:
    • Examine the voice as a gestural controller
    • Use the voice as a source of continuous control for parameters in computer musical and digital media art work.
    • Develop tools for examining the impact of performers’ unintentional actions on the perception of performance events
project overview3
Project Overview
  • Theoretical analysis of the voice using Cadoz and Wanderley’s instrumental gesture typology
  • Application of this analysis to the development of a hardware and software interface which measures vocal phenomena
  • The composition of a improvisational work for voice and computer which use the interface’s features
calling crick alerbel ets gwen hughes heroine
Calling Crick(alerbel)etsGwen Hughes, heroine
  • Our heroine explores a cave filled with crick(alerbel)ets. They sound cute enough, but they can’t be seen. If she calls to them will they reveal themselves? Or, will they run away?
calling crick alerbel ets
Calling Crick(alerbel)ets
  • Pitch Analysis:
    • Fundamental frequency identification
    • Note durations under one second are commonly ignored to reduce inclusion of indeterminate pitches
    • Data from other sensors is only collected when a pitch is identified
  • Breath Sensor
    • Sensor position is added to a running sum, when the pitch analysis recognizes a note.
    • Sum is used as the mechanism for pacing the piece
  • Vocal Cavity Analysis
    • Mouth openness determines the position of high- & low-pass filters and the frequency range of damping.
    • More open mouth = less-dampening, wider frequency range
    • One-to-one mapping between dampening and cavity size.
perception of performance
Perception of Performance
  • Breath-based instruments
    • Breath as an excitation and modification gesture
    • Need of breath of life
  • Observation of performers breathing:
    • Conscious or unconscious?
      • Both?
      • Impact on our perception of the event
  • My approach: measure, amplify, and reflect previously peripheral phenomena on the performance
historical context
Historical Context
  • A rich history of electric sound
    • 1920s: Thereminvox & Elektrophon - heterodyned radio-frequency oscillators
    • 1950s-60s: Electronic music studios - Paris, WDR Cologne, Colombia-Princeton, University of Illinois
    • Current: IRCAM, CCRMA (Stanford), CRCA (UCSD), ICMA, SEAMUS, EMF
  • Growth in “interactive composition” (1981) and interactive music
    • STEIM, MIT, NIME, Trends in Gestural Control of Music
interactive performance philosophy
Interactive Performance Philosophy
  • Leverage the existing skill of expert performers
    • Hyperinstruments by Tod Machover
  • Interested in unexplored phenomena
the voice
The Voice
  • Synthesis:
    • Bicycle Built for Two (Matthews, Miller 1960)
    • Physical Modeling
      • Kelly and Lochbaum (1961)
      • Sheila (Cook 1989-96) .
  • Music concréte
    • Credo in Us (Cage, 1942)
    • Gesange der Junglinge (Stockhausen, 1955-56)
    • Thema: Omaggio a Joyce (Berio, 1958)
    • Epitaph für Aikichi Kuboyama (Eimer, 1960-62)
    • Philomel (Babbitt, 1964).
  • Current Forms
    • The Vox Cycle (Wishart, 1986) and Voiceprints (Wishart, 1998)
    • More than Idle Chatter (Lansky, 1992) and Idle Chatter Junior (Lansky, 2001
    • Skipped Stones: A Comparison on Two Seasons (Warne, 1999).
analyzed voice
Analyzed Voice
  • Voice analyzed for computer decision making
    • Joan La Barbara
      • Voice Windows (1986) in collaboration with video artists Woody and Steina Vasulka
      • Events in the Elsewhere (1990)
    • Butch Rovan
      • Vis-á-Vis (2001)
  • The voice for cuing, scripting, and influencing variables -- not as a source of continuous control
the voice11
The Voice
  • If:
    • The voice is considered “arguably the oldest … and most expressive of musical instruments”(Cook 2004)
    • Long tradition of composition for the voice, including in electronic music compostion
    • Computer music is well established
    • Interest in interactive performance has grown greatly in last 25 years
  • Then, why are there no instruments which use the voice as a source of control?
    • No sweeping arm gestures?
    • Difficulty of getting data about the voice, other than from microphone data
gesture music
Gesture - Music
  • No single defintion of gesture, but…
    • Context specific
    • All deal with a direct or indirect reference to human activity
    • A distinction should be made between:
      • Significant: “gestures produced” (breath)
      • Signified: “gestures evoked” (vocal cavity)
instrumental gesture typology
Instrumental Gesture Typology
  • Functional approach: the possible funtions a gesture could serve in a specific context
    • Phenomenological approach
  • Effective Gesture: gesture mechanically necessary to produce the sound
    • Instrumental Gesture
      • Physical
      • Repeatable and Controllable
      • Potential Basis for Communication
instrumental gesture typology14
Instrumental Gesture Typology
  • Excitation gesture – the provision of energy present in the audible phenomena
    • Can be instantaneous (i.e., plucked or struck) or continuous (i.e., bowed or blown)
  • Modification gesture – a change of the instruments properties without the addition of significant energy added to the resulting sound.
    • Parametric
      • Discrete (i.e., movement along a single string on a violin)
      • Continuous (i.e., vibrato)
    • Structural (i.e., muting a trumpet)
  • Selection gesture – a choice between similar elements on an instrument (i.e., selecting between the 2nd and 3rd string on a violin).
    • Selection gestures neither add energy to the sound nor modify an instrument’s properties.
gesture voice
Gesture - Voice
  • Applied to the voice:
    • Breath pushed out of the lungs by the diaphragm is an excitation gesture.
    • Breath pushed out of the lungs by the diaphragm is a parametric modification gesture (i.e., amplitude)
    • Changes in the larynx are parametric modification gestures (pitch, primarily).
    • Changes in the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs are parametric modification gestures (timbre, primarily).
  • Simplicity highlights the importance of phenomenological analysis
gesture voice16
Gesture - Voice
  • Vocal Cavity Change
    • Measured as signified
    • Open/Closed - Space in the mouth
      • Formants
        • Lips: Roundness
        • Tongue: up or down
        • Position: front or back
    • Continuous Control
    • Confounders: Pitch/Amplitude
gesture voice18
Gesture - Voice
  • Breath Support
    • Size of abdomen
      • Position (excitation)
      • Speed, change (modification)
    • Measured as significant
    • Confounder: the need for breath
      • Assisted by pitch information
technical challenges
Technical Challenges
  • Max/MSP
    • Dual platform: Mac OS X, Windows XP
      • Externals, Abstractions, and Plug-ins (VST)
  • Cavity
    • No existing objects
      • LPC would likely be the preferred technique
    • FFT attempts
      • Peak detection
      • Fiddle~
    • Notched band-pass filter, with amplitude measurment
technical challenges21
Technical Challenges
  • Breath Sensor
    • Merlin Stretch Sensor
    • Op Amp circuit
    • Miditron voltage-to-MIDI converter
the interface
The Interface
  • Position, Velocity, Acceleration of:
    • Breath Sensor
    • Vocal cavity measurement
    • Pitch
with a wave of my voice24

With a Wave of My Voice

by Matthew Peters Warne

Featuring Gwen Hughes, Vocals

Committee:

Dr. Sha Xin Wei, LCC, Chair

Dr. Eugene Thacker, LCC

Dr. Steven Everett, Emory, Music

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