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Conversation between Alex and Stephen (prev top next)



[ re: Fantasy a 3 ] Nice addition, yes it is worth doing. Have you considered rotating the keyboard vertically to the right so the position of the notes on the keyboard correspond with the bars in the visualisation?

[Alex:] ... the fact that as you climb in pitch on the finger board on a string instrument your spacings get smaller, is an example of the inverse relationship we experience in the physical realm. ...

I meant the "experience" of the spacings growing smaller as we go up the fingerboard on string instruments is inverse to what we know about the actual measure of frequency as we go up in pitch. So in this regard we are not in disagreement. I believe that the intuitive perception that higher intervals are smaller has much to do with the experience of pitch in relation to string length.

If we want a structural association for roughness, we need to figure out what causes roughness, what we sense as roughness, and try to find analogies between physical roughness and timbral roughness.

It is not my intention to represent roughness and smoothness in the spectrographic content of a musical note, through the structure of geometric entity designed to represent that instrument. I wish to have that quality mapped through the spectrogram itself. This would then be texture mapped onto the geometry of the instrument. Hence my interest in different forms of spectral representation. As you suggested earlier

What is important is where in the spectrum the energy lies, that is, spectral envelope. Here's a recent paper with a proposal for how to model timbre ...

So considering that modelling the spectral envelope is most effective for modelling timbre, how can this be applied to different geometric entities? The modelling shown by Jensen is useful for seeing the overall timbrel envelope, however in a dynamic temporal environment, such as the actual performance of a note within a phrase, that spectral information can only be presented as it happens (this isn't strictly true, but to visually present all the spectral information before it occurs introduces a whole host of other issues). Maintaining a history of the spectral energy as to show the full envelope as it evolves may be inconsistent with the discreet experience of hearing the sound itself at any given moment. This warrants further investigation.

Why is it tricky to distinguish between symbolic and structural associations? Let's consider your example: the string as the analogue of the sound of a bowed string instrument. Would a person whose never seen a bowed string instrument know from the sound that it came from a string?

I am relying, on one level, on a base level of audience musical literacy associated with musical instruments, however, considering the possibility of music visualisation being used for didactic purposes, it is appropriate to use imagery symbolic of the structural nature of an instrument ( sound like I am straddling a fence?.....). If, as you suggest, someone who has never seen a bowed instrument were not to know from the sound that it came from a string, the imagery would suggest that sound was coming from something that looked remarkably like a piece of string. So one step has been made in the education of this individual, the relationship between string like entities and a particular type of sound. After that it is a case of padding out the detail through other forums, possibly in the visualisation itself or in the class room, or an accompanying CD rom, etc.

In the end the decision needs to be made about the purpose of the visualisation. Every artist makes assumptions about what people will be able to discern by themselves, and choose how far they are willing to go to explain their art through the work itself. One could argue that there is nothing gained if one does not need to exert some effort in understanding an artwork. But here we can drift into an endless void of philosophical discussion about art..which I would rather like to avoid right now. I have to go and practice ...


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