Narrative to Action in the Creation and Performance of Music with Data-driven Instruments
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This Digital Portfolio Dissertation centers on a collection of seven digital videos of performances of original electroacoustic compositions that feature data-driven instruments. The dissertation also includes a copy of the original software and affiliated files used in performing the portfolio of music, and a text document that analyzes and describes the following for each of the seven compositions: (1) the design and implementation of each of the seven complete data-driven instruments; (2) the musical challenges and opportunities provided by data-driven instruments; (3) the performance techniques employed; (4) the compositional structure; (5) the sound synthesis techniques used, and (6) the data-mapping strategies used. The seven compositions demonstrate a variety of electroacoustic and performance techniques and employ a range of interface devices as front-ends to the data-driven instruments. The seven interfaces that I chose to use for my compositions include the Wacom Tablet, the Leap Motion device for hand and finger detection, the Blue Air infrared sensor device for distance measurements, the Nintendo Wii Remote wireless game controller, the Gametrak three-dimensional, position tracking system, the eMotion™ Wireless Sensor System, and a custom sensor-based interface that I designed and fabricated. The title of this dissertation derives from the extra-musical impulses that drove the creative impulses of the seven original electroacoustic compositions for data-driven instruments. Of the seven compositions, six of the pieces have connections to literature. Despite the fact there is a literary sheen to these musical works, the primary impulses of these compositions arise from the notion of absolute music – music for music’s sake, music that is focused on sound and the emotional and intellectual stimulus such sound can produce when humans experience it. Thus, I simultaneously work both sides of the musical street with my compositions containing both extra-musical and absolute musical substance.
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