Radius Music Installed

31May10

Near-final installation of Radius Music for NCAD Degree Show.

//Degree Show

RADIUS MUSIC is an audio interface based on ideas of cartography and graphic scores (developed using the open source Pure Data, Arduino and Processing platforms), and investigates the phenomenon that electronic musical technology is developing quicker than a language that can accurately represent it. Since the rise of computer music in the 20th century, abstract graphic scores created out of generative processes and systems introduced elements of indeterminism into contemporary composition that are nearly impossible to exactly recreate, providing its performer with a sonic map to navigate rather than a linear path to follow.

Radius Music combines these ideas of mapping and graphic scores as a means to produce sound. The device itself is an autonomous revolving machine that reads a distance value in real-time between itself and another object. As the machine slowly rotates and scans the room, it takes this radial distance and outputs it as a relative sonic frequency and a corresponding visual score.

The synthesis techniques used to generate the audio include Frequency Modulation and Additive Synthesis, with phasing effects providing a procedural rhythmic element. The circular rotation of the piece evokes an idea of early sample culture – each device plays a loop of sound approximately 3 seconds long, sampling the position of people and objects in the space. These sonic qualities and techniques were selected for their importance in the development of electronic music, and their influence on generations of composers.

Numerous devices will be placed in a room, documenting sonically and visually the dynamic real-time readings taken from ultrasonic distance sensors. As people walk in and out of the room that these devices will be placed in, they will alter the readings of distance, and therefore, the sounds too.

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