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Title: Playing With Time: Interacting with Timed Musical Machines
Authors: Kaczmarek, Konrad Eric
Advisors: Trueman, Daniel
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: Automation
Interactive Electronic Music
Live Electronic Music
Musical Instruments
Sound File Granulation
Subjects: Music
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Machines that capture and play back sound invariably influence the many ways that music is composed and performed. This symbiotic relationship is manifest in the turntablist virtuosically navigating the sounds engraved on a record, the guitarist generating overlapping rhythmic patterns and loops with a delay pedal, and the electronic musician manipulating and triggering samples live on a laptop. The tools and techniques used to record, edit, sequence, and play sound inevitably percolate into live music-making practices in the form of timed musical machines. These virtual machines involve both software and hardware, and incorporate varying degrees of automation, sound manipulation, and physical performance-based control. This dissertation outlines the basic digital tools that comprise these virtual machines, providing examples of software to illustrate the underlying mechanisms, and identifying strategies for how to interact with them in musically meaningful ways. The introduction frames the discussion with two contrasting anecdotes of interactions with recording and playback technology, and identifies the key components of timed musical machines. The first chapter investigates the ways that recorded sound is understood and manipulated as an object, first in the general case and then in applications that are unique to the digital medium. The second chapter identifies the specific building blocks and corresponding programming strategies of three classes of timed musical machines: sound file granulation, delays, and phase vocoders. Each category includes examples in the form of accompanying software. Finally, the third chapter presents freezing time as a case study to highlight the techniques used to manipulate the sound object and to identify some of the perceptual shifts that timed musical machines create in the ways of attending to musical sound. Since software-based timed musical machines operate on the micro-time scale, this analysis includes an investigation into the layer of automation and control that exists between lower-level processes and more direct user input. The discussion therefore includes an examination into editing and automation techniques derived from digital audio workstations and computer music programming environments, as well as an investigation into object-based compositional structures developed by the composer György Ligeti.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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