Modeling, extension, and parameter identification/estimation of vocal and musical instrument systems

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Discovery Grants Program - Individual
  • Years: 2010/11 to 2012/13
  • Total Funding: $45,000
Keywords
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Project Summary

The objective of this research program is to focus on creating real-time interactive computer music instrument tools, emphasizing sound quality, extended sound possibilities, and improved playability/interactivity. These objectives are addressed through the development of real-time physics-based synthesis algorithms, which may simulate acoustic musical instruments, but are made sufficiently parametric that extensions beyond physical constraints are possible. Virtual models based on acoustic systems tend to produce sound that comes closer to acoustic quality---a sometimes more desirable quality---by more naturally capturing the spectral dynamics of an instrument during the time evolution (particularly the attack and decay) of a produced sound. Since the models are real-time and parametric, they may, in theory, be controlled by user input. In practice however, this often presents a significant difficulty as computer input devices tend to lack the sensory feedback of their acoustic counterparts. Many musicians devote their lifetime to gaining the virtuosic expertise that allows them to be artistically expressive on their instruments. Human-computer interactivity may benefit from knowledge of this interaction, as it provides a case study where human and system are very finely coupled. In our research, we develop tools by which the actions and interactions of a performer may be estimated directly from the instrument's produced sound, using only a microphone which passively records the acoustic signal, without additional wires or sensors impeding the performance. Estimated control parameters may then be used for performance study/pedagogy, or remapped to parameters of a synthesis model, allowing musicians to extend their own instruments and possibilities for artistic expression.