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Scanning Spaces: Paradigms for Spatial Sonification and Synthesis


In 1962 Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Concept of Unity in Electronic Music” introduced a connection between the parameters of intensity, duration, pitch, and timbre using an accelerating pulse train. In 1973 John Chowning discovered that complex audio spectra could be synthesized by increasing vibrato rates past 20Hz. In both cases the notion of acceleration to produce timbre was critical to discovery. Although both composers also utilized sound spatialization in their works, spatial parameters were not unified with their synthesis techniques. This dissertation examines software studies and multimedia works involving the use of spatial and visual data to produce complex sound spectra. The culmination of these experiments, Spatial Modulation Synthesis, is introduced as a novel, mathematical control paradigm for audio-visual synthesis, providing unified control of spatialization, timbre, and visual form using high-speed sound trajectories.

The unique, visual sonification and spatialization rendering paradigms of this disser- tation necessitated the development of an original audio-sample-rate graphics rendering implementation, which, unlike typical multimedia frameworks, provides an exchange of audio-visual data without downsampling or interpolation.

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