Eclectic I

Friday, May 26, 2006

Technology Journal Week 11


Stephen Whittington – Ventures in vocoding and Distributed music performance

Stephen began studying music technology in the early 1970’s in the undergraduate music degree at Adelaide University. Throughout his studies and career within this field he has developed 4 key concepts that influence his creative output.

Key Concepts

-Globalisation of consciousness.
Through the ability to travel and communicate on a global scale, the human mind particularly in western civilisation is entering a global understanding. We are no longer limited to concerns and ideas of the immediate area around us, but the planet as a whole.

- Utterance
“Any human vocal sound including but not restricted to speech and speech like sounds. ” The aspect of this that he finds most interesting is when speech straddles the border between being interpretable and undefined. He has an ensuing appreciation of poetry. In particular the styles which are central to the way in words are spoken; such as the trans-national French Futurist language “Zaum.” His appreciation of Hip-Hop is in the same vein of thought.

“Hardware or software implementation of speech based compression algorithm.1” This is a furtherance of the previous key concept of utterance.
His first experiments in this began with using the analogue vocoder at
Adelaide University.

-Distributed music performance
“Musical performance where the performers are not in close proximity to each other.1” They could be in various locations in a large hall for example.

Examples of pieces which Stephen has used these key concepts.

X is Dead -1988

is a musical piece composed by Stephen as homage to Pierre Boulez; it was written for when Boulez came to Adelaide for the festival. It uses a recording of someone reading Boulez’s Essay “Shoenburg est mort” being played through speakers taped to the sound board of a piano while a pianist is playing a Shoenburg piano piece as soft as possible; thus creating vocodance through the sympathetic resonance of the words. I personally think that this is a brilliant idea and would love to experiment with it.

Music of the Spheres. - 2000

This piece made use of a ‘Max Patch’ that chopped up parts of text and “quotations from the book “Music of the Spheres” and then pasted them back together in a mostly grammatical correct form. This was in turn read out, generally by a computer generated voice whilst a ‘Just tuned piano’ played melodies over the top. It would have been interesting to hear some of the sentences produced, but I’m unsure of whether or not I would enjoy the sonic result.


This piece was played to the class. It was a ‘distributed music performance’ that used a ‘Max Patch’ that did the same thing as Music of the Spheres but used text from the ancient Chinese text ‘secret of the golden flower.’ It also made use of a prepared piano. I really enjoyed the aesthetic of the max patch and the vocoder that was used in collaboration with the accordion that was being played. However I fel the prepared piano took away from the feel of the piece.

Audio Arts

The recording of the classical singer “Jodie O’Regan” On the rode NTV in the dead room went very well. I really like that microphone!

Jodie O'Regan

Creative Computing

Further detail in the use of Pro Tools, in particular the “bounce to disk function.” I am grateful for the short cuts being taught in lesson.

Picture References (in order of appearance.)


#2 Universal Edition. "Pierre Boulez" composers. 2006. (26 May 2006).

# unkown. "photo's of and relating to Alban Berg." Arnold Shoenberg 2006. (26 March 2006).


Blogger Jake Morris said...

hello there my 'heterogeneous you'.

just thought i'd add to the general trend to comment on your blog and tell you how much you spelling SUCKS
no just kidding, it's really not that bad. (i also accept credit card)

studis has an 'e' in it = studies.

6:43 AM  

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