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QuBits, an Interactive Virtual Reality Project and Compositional Space for Sound and Image

  • Author(s): Kulpa, Jonathan Jeffrey
  • Advisor(s): Campion, Edmund
  • et al.


QuBits, an Interactive Virtual Reality Project and Compositional Space

for Sound and Image


Jonathan Kulpa

Doctor of Philosophy in Music Composition

University of California, Berkeley

Professor Edmund Campion, Chair

This paper describes the QuBits project, a virtual reality (VR) environment created by the composer, offering an expanded medium for musical experience with integrated space and visuals. The QuBits VR environment is the essential supporting material for the dissertation and this paper provides a full description of the project.

The environment was designed to explore a musical aesthetic valuing sound mass, spatial sound, evolution, and algorithmically generated sonic structures. Additionally, the user of the VR system plays a key role in shaping these musical elements. The user first must discover what behaviors are possible by exploring and through chance encounters. They can then shape each discovered behavior with nuance if they choose.

In the VR environment, each sound has a corresponding visual component. To achieve this, a system was built with two software platforms, one for digital sound processing and another for 3D graphics and algorithmic event generation. These platforms communicate via Open Sound Control (OSC). The sounds are a mix of real world sampled sound, granular synthesis, and real-time generated synthetic sound.

The QuBits VR environment represents the results of this methodology. Pros and cons of the methodology are discussed, as well as implications for future projects.

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