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Open Access Publications from the University of California

AudioChalk: Idiosyncratic Software For Sketching Spectral Music

  • Author(s): Patros, Elliot Michael
  • Advisor(s): Smyth, Tamara
  • et al.
Abstract

This Thesis describes the design of the proof-of-concept software application, AudioChalk. AudioChalk, which combines a vector graphics editor with a oscillator bank synthesizer, lets users algorithmically generate, manipulate, or sketch partials by hand in the time frequency domain via intuitive graphical elements. The purpose of developing AudioChalk was to study, from a software developer’s perspective, how content creation software for experimental musicians can be designed to offer both a flexible and efficient workflow. Simultaneously precise and efficient control are gained by sacrificing some of the software’s flexibility. However, if losses of flexibility are carefully considered to not significantly interfere with intended use cases, users often do not perceive a loss of possible functionality. The design choices regarding tradeoffs between efficiency and flexibility that were considered while developing AudioChalk are distilled into a rubric, called idiosyncrasy. Idiosyncrasy as a rubric attempts to generalize the consequences of software design choices from the intended users’ perspective. The intended users in the case of AudioChalk are composers of experimental electronic music.

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