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The author's close connection to traditional Alaskan culture has inspired the creation and implementation of new multimedia instruments based on the use of ritual objects in shamanic cultures of the far north. Simultaneously, the musical processes articulated by this music are structurally tied to environmental systems in a technique discussed here as ‘ecoacoustics’. In this work, performer/composer interaction, musical composition theory, multimedia performance, and musical instrument design have been transformed in response to these influences.
eSaz is a performance system for live electronic music centred around a classical Turkish lute fitted with electronic sensors and linked to a software interface designed in Max/MSP. Placement of sensors and the design of its digital signal processing build upon the physical characteristics, and expand upon the acoustical features, of this traditional instrument. Its design facilitates the integration of real-time recorded, as well as pre-recorded sounds, into an unfolding montage of sound. The system is discussed from both a technical point of view and from the perspective of a Western electronic musician addressing a non-Western acoustical instrument. Relevant questions about cross-cultural borrowing and the impact of electronics on the sounds and performance technique of a traditional instrument are discussed. The author addresses the role played by his Jewish identification, as a member of an ethno-religious group with a historical connection to Ottomon musical traditions, on the choices involved. Technical and aesthetic issues are detailed within the context of a description of the instrument and the author's interest in the development of gestural controllers.
Original and transformed samples of berimbau, cuica and zunidores sounds, instruments typical of Brazilian folk music, as well as synthesised sounds that emulate spectro-morphological variations of the sounds of these instruments, were assembled into the library of electronic sounds used in Coelho de Souza's Concerto for Computer and Orchestra. This approach had strong implications for the cultural identity of the piece and for the strategies of integration of the computer with the orchestra.
This paper gives brief descriptions of five Chinese flutes: the paixiao, xun, koudi, xiao and dizi, and short musical excerpts with their notation, idiomatic phrasing and typical ornaments. The source material section describes their spectral characteristics. Following a brief description of the previous wavetable synthesis design, an expressive new Csound additive synthesis design used to model the instruments is described. Chinese notation is a convenient Csound pitch input method using Ling Lun's tuning. Finally, several excerpts from compositions illustrate applications of the designs.
Although the hybridisation of Western and Chinese musics has been progressing for over a century, many early attempts tended to treat Chinese material in a rather superficial manner. This resulted in mere ‘Orientalist’ Western pieces and rather bland pentatonic/romantic ‘Chinese’ music that simply harmonised the basic outline of popular Chinese melodies with Western chord progressions. The use of recent technologies has greatly accelerated the pace and depth of this hybridisation and solved many of its artistic problems. Technological advances now make it possible and practical to incorporate the subtle but essential elements of traditional Chinese music, and of course other world musics, in works that seem satisfying for Western and non-Western audiences. This paper presents a brief historical overview of the hybridisation of Western and Chinese musical traditions, examines common pitfalls of many early attempts, and reviews how these issues are addressed compositionally and technically in the author's recent electroacoustic pieces, Li Jiang Etudes No. 1, 2 & 3.
This paper examines the integration of traditional New Zealand Mäori instruments with digital music technology, and the use of these instruments in making new works. The focus is on the work of performer/composers Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns, as well as recent collaborations that Richard Nunns has undertaken with some composers and musicians in genres other than Mäori music. Aesthetic, practical and cultural considerations in the composition process are explored.
A flexible plastic corrugated tube known as the Hummer was a popular sonic toy in the early 1970s. It produces pleasing sonorities when whirled in the air. In this article, we propose a physically informed model of a singing corrugated tube. The model was used in the composition Garden of the Dragon, which is also described in this paper.
Stochastic, unvoiced sounds are abundant in music and musical sounds. Without irregularities, the music and sounds become dull and lifeless. This paper presents work on unvoiced sounds that is believed to be useful in noise music. Several methods for obtaining a gradual change towards static white noise are presented. The random values (Dice), random events (Geiger) and random frequencies (Cymbal) noise types are shown to produce many useful sounds. Atomic noise encompasses all three noise types, while adding much more subtle variations and more life to the noise. Methods for obtaining a harmonic sound from the noise are introduced. These methods take advantage of the stochastic nature of the model, facilitating a gradual change from the stochastic sound to the noisy harmonic sound. In addition, the frozen noise repetitions are shown to produce unexpected pitch jumps with a potentially useful musical structure.