Category Archives: Audio Visual Systems

AV Systems – SuperCollider 140 Character

Inspired by The Wire magazine SC140 project, our assignment for AV Sys was to create a SuperCollider sketch that was under 140 characters. Based on the “Micromoog” piece that was involved with the SC140, I made this:


And here’s an audio recording of the first 2:30 of the piece:

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AV Systems – Music Video

For this week’s assignment, we were asked to make a music video that used code in an interesting way. It’s been a crazy thesis week, so I figured drum and bass music would be an appropriate genre to explore.

I took the street video by mounting a camera to my bike and riding home from school. I did a series of blob detection on different aspects of the video, and the alpha level of the blob colored visuals are based on the value of FFT ranges. The song is “Urban Shakedown ft. DBO General – Some Justice 95 aka Arsonist (Vocal mix)”.

This video is dedicated to Monday Night Vinyl Club.

AV Systems – Granular Synthesis Recorder

For the advanced AvSys homework, we were asked to build an app that uses live audio input to record data for a granular synthesizer.

I spent most of spring break hammering this out, and the current version works but is far from perfect. Here is a video demonstration:

Basically I am taking input buffer data, storing it to dynamic float arrays, and then sending the information to a version of Zach Lieberman’s granular synthesis code that I hacked up quite a bit.

I plan on updating this so that the parameters of the synthesizer can be changed after the sounds are recorded, and I’ll do a post (with code) in the coming weeks.

AV Systems – White squares and graphical score

This week’s assignment we were asked to manipulate a white square using sonic information. Using sonic qualities, like pitch, and frequency information, and we were to think about how to “perform” the white square.

We were split up into groups, and Lara Warman, Basak Haznedaroglu, and I came up with 3 scenarios for our white squares, each taking the lead on writing the code for the project.

My scenario involved a “ski slalom” using pitch to direct the white-square skier around the appropriate flags. The higher pitches moves the skier to the right and lower pitches moves the skier to the left. Here is a video demonstration:

Lara coded the pitch competition (which divides the square into two triangles), and here is a demonstration for that (on the left). Basak was coding a carnival “bell ringing” competition, but she didn’t make it too far with it. She sent along code, so here is a demonstration of what she sent (on the right).

Code for these projects can be found here.

We were also asked to make a graphical score to a piece of music / sound for which traditional music notation isn’t necessary. Think about what visual languages you can use to represent sound.

I chose Terry Riley’s “A Rainbow In A Curved Air” as the musical piece to visually score. I imagined the piece being a spiraling combination of different tones, shapes, and patterns, so I first chose my color palate and created a series of “sound strips” by shredding the paper selected.

I then placed varying amounts of the sound strips on my scanner. I rotated the strips as I added and removed the pieces, and eventually added bits of shredded cd’s to embody the portions of high range sound glitter that Riley adds throughout the piece.

Here is my visual score of Terry Riley’s “A Rainbow In A Curved Air”:

AV Systems – See something in new york

As part of our assignment this week, Zach encouraged us to go out and see something (instead of just find work online to reference and talk about).

I am currently a TA for Michael Schober and Dan Greenblatt’s ULEC called Collaboration In and Beyond Music. It’s an amazing course that involves a mix of lecture and live performance by a range of musicians (classical, jazz, etc). On my way in to class on Monday, I saw an advertisement for a Samir Chatterjee who was performing with the Chhandayan World Percussion Group that was happening Tuesday at the New School.

Chatterjee is a world-renowned tabla player who is also New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music faculty, and Chhandayan approaches rhythm from a multitude of global influences. The group included Emiliano A. Valerio (Afro-Cuban percussion), Yousif Sheronik (Middle Eastern percussion), Daniel Weiss (jazz drumset), Xander Naylor (guitar), and Ned Rothenberg (reeds), so there was a wide range of styles and approaches represented.

This was the first time I saw a reed player use circular breathing effectively in a live setting. I’d seen many videos, but Rothenberg was fired up tonight.

After watching each of the performers take a solo, I thought about how a computer interface could provide the same level of tangible, dexterity that these analog instruments provided. The tabla performance alone was enough, but each performer illustrated the many approaches and techniques that can be used to create complex and inventive sounds.

Christian Marclay’s The Clock

Over the weekend, fellow classmate, Haeyoung Kim, let me know about Christian Marclay’s exhibit at the Paula Cooper Gallery, so I rode my bike up the West Side Highway and in to Chelsea. Sampling clips from thousands of films, the 24-hour video piece The Clock demonstrates time as a complex, central cinematic figure in its many forms and meanings.

The piece has a similar editing style to Marclay’s earlier work, with multiple film styles spliced together in both a jarring/cutting and swaying/lulling way, but the story that is told is much more suspenseful and edgy. Although the woman sitting next to me on the plush couches was falling asleep, I sat at the edge of my seat with a grin from ear to ear. The sound, woven beautifully by Media Noise’s Quentin Chiappetta, effectively carries the audience from suspense, to fear, to uneasy, to laughter.

After waiting in line for almost 30 minutes, I won the seat lottery and got a front row seat. The space was filled to capacity with many audience members sitting on the floor along the wall and in the back. A very helpful representative from the gallery provided guidance on when and where seats became available.

The show closes this Saturday (2/19), so get there if you can.

AV Systems – AM, FM, etc.

This weeks assignment included the following:
a) implement additive, AM and FM synthesis using the sin wave code as a starting point.

b) using additive synthesis, create the most harmonious, beautiful sound that you can. think about using multiple sin osicllators, with various levels of volume. Be very, very, very careful not to clip your sounds (ie, scale the volumes so that they add up to less then 1.0). Use many oscillators.

c) using additive synthesis, create the most evil, terrible, cacophonous and dissonant sound. Again, take care about volume levels.

d) try to see what the limit of your computer is by adding as many sin oscillators as you can together. how many can you put into the app with out it skipping. take care about the volume of each osciallator.

e) using any synthesis technique, attempt to recreate these tones:

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f) make music ! try to transcribe a song (turning the notes into frequencies) and play it via code. And / or, try to create a sequencer that allow you to compose music by controlling some parameters of synthesis over time. then, create some music with this tool.

here is a video of each item, and below are links to the source code:

a1. Additive Code
a2. AM Code
a3. FM Code
b. most harmonious code
e. most terrible code
d. too many oscillators code (got up to 360 oscillators before error messages)
e. match tones code
f. world’s worst keyboard keyboard code

AV Systems – Sounds for images

For the first assignment in Zach Gage and Zach Lieberman’s Audio Visual Systems course, we were asked to make 1 short sound (3-5 seconds) for 9 images. I named each piece as follows:

  • image1-airplane-hanger
  • image2-bad-quilt
  • image3-space-rainbow
  • image4-charts-and-graphs
  • image5-air-gong
  • image6-laser-light-club
  • image7-bubbles-tvshow
  • image8-bricks
  • image9-fern

I tried a number of different approaches, such as creating a narrative around the image (ex. bubbles tv show), using imagery characteristics to shape the sound choices (ex. charts and graphs and brick wall) , and experimenting with different recording techniques (ex. fern).