Posts Tagged ‘curtis roads’

Extra Credit: Digitizing and Manipulating Sound by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Extra Credit: Digitizing and Manipulating Sound by Ryan Andre Magsino

At the Sound and Science Symposium, Curtis Roads, a composer of electronic and electro-acoustic music specializing in granular and pulsar synthesis, author, and computer programmer, touched base on sound and how it can begin one thing and evolve as another. Specifically, he reflected on his own background in the rise of digital sound and visualization.

The Man of the Hour (the length of his lecture anyways...)

Curtis Roads, The Man of the Hour (the length of his lecture anyways...)

Today, most of us have a microphone attached to our laptops/notebooks. However, such an idea would have been refuted decades earlier. Prior to the boom of personal computing, most audio recording, synthesizing and rendering were done on a top notch network of processors. Roads revealed that the idea of a personal computer performing the same function was outrageous at the time, but it did not stop computer manufacturers. And so, the ability to digitize sound was made available to those who could afford and understand it.

On the forefront of such technological breakthrough was Curtis Roads. His initial attraction to computer music was prompted by “a fascination with algorithmic composition processes tightly coupled with digital sound synthesis.” As an audio-technician per say, Roads utilized Gabor’s sonic model in which Gabor observed all sound can be viewed as a combination of elementary functions bounded in frequency and time. Roads spoke of his endeavor to take the model into digital context. And so, Roads felt the” notation of electronic (/digital) music is often graphic rather than symbolic.”

Of the many products Roads has produced, he has developed both Creatophone, a system for spatial projection of sound in concert, and Creatovox, an expressive new instrument for virtuoso performance that is based on the synthesis of sound particles. But the important thing to take from this is the image and space visualization through audio. Roads was one of the developers interested in the isolating sound from specific areas in an environment. It is thanks to his work and many others that we have multi-channel and directional sound. In addition to this feat, Roads has also composed bits himself in which he assembles sonic fragments onto a timeline. To listen to some of his compositions, check out the following link: Hear Curtis Roads’ Subatomic Pop Symphonies

curtis

How could we possibly take sound to the next level? Instead of merely being able to record sound onto different channels to emulate an environment, what if we were then able to re-isolate those sounds into specified areas to be heard? After watching a TED talk with Woody Norris, he has invented such a thing. Dubbed HyperSonic Sound, Norris has created a special phonograph which can focus sound at specific areas. The applications of such a product are limitless. And so, the potential of sound itself is also limitless in possibilities.

The HyperSonic Sound technology gives you the ability to direct sound where you want it and nowhere else.

The HyperSonic Sound technology gives you the ability to direct sound where you want it and nowhere else.