This is part 2 of a series started here.

2. Sound and music

I’ve worked as sound designer for a while back home, and I just want to learn more.

  • Audio Technology (link)
  • Sound in Interaction (link)
  • Musical Communication and Music Technology (link)

Audio Technology was the most difficult course I had during these two years period. There were lots of physics on acoustics and signal processing, covering topics from analog to digital conversion, audio coding and compression, to 3D sound.

I might have been allergic to derivatives too

I might have been allergic to derivatives too

Sound in Interaction course focused sound as information carrier. Sound is used extensively in our interaction with technology, from smartphone notification sound to feedback of our action. Human perception of sound is again discussed in the course. The concept of sonification was also introduced, where sound is used for data visualization. My final project in the course was to design an interaction for Sound Forest, an art installation built by our department for an art museum in Stockholm. Our group came up with Sound Forest: Creatures. Have a look at the following video to see it in action. 

 

There are four main actors in music: composer, musician, music instrument, and the audience. Composer creates score for the musician, musician applies certain gestures on the instrument, and the instrument produces sound for the audience to listen to. These chain of events is described as Musical Communications, hence the name of the course. Technology could be applied for any of the actors, from AI creating composition, musician robot, digital music instruments, to audience model in computer. Each of the applications was discussed in the course, as well as how sound and music are used in film and video games. My final project in the course was machine learning, exploring generative models of creating chord progressions. We trained a series of HMM (Hidden Markov Models) and LSTM with compositions from Bach and had the machine generating chord progressions.

Truth

Truth

In general, I’m happy with these sound-related courses. Especially after years of working as sound designer, I finally get the opportunity the learn more of the field and the new technologies around it.