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Space Time Exploration of Musical Instruments


Musical instruments are tools used to generate sounds for musical expression. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) musical instruments create sounds that may be spatially disjointed from the instrument controls. Spatial audio processing can be used to position the Extended Reality (XR) musical instruments and their corresponding sounds in the same space. This dissertation investigates novel ways of combining spatial reverb models to improve the naturalness of XR musical instruments. Seven spatial reverb systems, combinations of a shoebox spatial reverb model, a raytracing spatial reverb model, and measured directional room impulse response convolution reverb, were compared in a pilot study. A novel hybrid system of synthetic early reflections and directional room impulse responses was preferred for naturalness when tested over headphones with three instruments created by the author: AR electric guitar, AR drumset, and VR Singing Kite. This research culminated in a concert, Spherical Sound Search, which showcased the preferred hybrid system, the three XR musical instruments, and four re-contextualized spatial audio effects (spatial looping, spatial delay, spatial feedback, and spatial compression). The three pieces in the concert explored different aspects of XR modalities and presented the novel system with spatial audio effects to a larger audience by rendering to an octophonic loudspeaker layout.

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