Computing and Library Services - delivering an inspiring information environment

Exploring visual representation of sound in computer music software through programming and composition

Freeman, Samuel David (2013) Exploring visual representation of sound in computer music software through programming and composition. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (11MB)


Presented through contextualisation of the portfolio works are developments of a practice in which the acts of programming and composition are intrinsically connected. This practice-based research (conducted 2009–2013) explores visual representation of sound in computer music software.

Towards greater understanding of composing with the software medium, initial questions are taken as stimulus to explore the subject through artistic practice and critical thinking. The project begins by asking: How might the ways in which sound is visually represented influence the choices that are made while those representations are being manipulated and organised as music? Which aspects of sound are represented visually, and how are those aspects shown?

Recognising sound as a psychophysical phenomenon, the physical and psychological aspects of aesthetic interest to my work are identified. Technological factors of mediating these aspects for the interactive visual-domain of software are considered, and a techno-aesthetic understanding developed.

Through compositional studies of different approaches to the problem of looking at sound in software, on screen, a number of conceptual themes emerge in this work: the idea of software as substance, both as a malleable material (such as in live coding), and in terms of outcome artefacts; the direct mapping between audio data and screen pixels; the use of colour that maintains awareness of its discrete (as opposed to continuous) basis; the need for integrated display of parameter controls with their target data; and the tildegraph concept that began as a conceptual model of a gramophone and which is a spatio-visual sound synthesis technique related to wave terrain synthesis. The spiroid-frequency-space representation is introduced, contextualised, and combined both with those themes and a bespoke geometrical drawing system (named thisis), to create a new modular computer music software environment named sdfsys.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Depositing User: Elizabeth Boulton
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2015 16:37
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 18:31


Downloads per month over past year

Repository Staff Only: item control page

View Item View Item

University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH Copyright and Disclaimer All rights reserved ©