I'm excited to present a lecture recital at the first Transplanted Roots Percussion Research Symposium! The topic will be the SpectraSurface and my experience in the creation-performance of Unsounding Objects.
Learning to play the SpectraSurface: a novel digital percussion instrument
This lecture recital presents the SpectraSurface, a digital musical instrument for a contemporary percussionist created by Zachary Hale, Ian Hattwick, and Preston Beebe at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music, Media, and Technology (CIRMMT). Whereas most digital percussion instruments commonly rely on the characteristics of velocity or attack through the MIDI protocol, our goal was to create an instrument that would respond to the timbral characteristics of found objects excited by contemporary percussion techniques (bowing, motors, superball, natural processes, rubbing, scratching, etc.). We ultimately learned through exploration that subtleties and somewhat inaudible sounds to the human ear could control sound synthesis in a meaningful way using the SpectraSurface. I discuss how the use of audio feature extraction in the SpectraSurface changed both my performance technique as well as my way of using auditory feedback from different sources (acoustic and electronic) to influence my playing. The collaborative process in a technological atmosphere is also discussed. Excerpts from the pieces Unsounding Objects no.1-2 are presented as corresponding musical references and examples.