Timbre and Gesture Management in Interactive Improvisation

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 17:30
TH 331
Bill Hsu, Ph.D., SFSU CS

This paper describes an interactive music system that improvises with a saxophonist, developed in collaboration with John Butcher. In non-idiomatic group improvisation, musicians make performance decisions based on well-defined musical parameters such as pitch, as well as instrument timbre or tone color. For many saxophonists, timbral variation is a critical structural element.

Our system is able to analyze and "understand" aspects of a human improviser's performance. Perceptually important features, such as multiphonics and auditory roughness, are detected in real-time. This information is used to influence how the system generates response material. The system is also able to capture timbral variations or contours over a gesture, and reference these contours when responding to the saxophonist. Some clips can be found at http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~whsu/Timbre.


Bill Hsu is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at SFSU. His research interests are in interactive computer music, computer architecture and performance measurement. Url: http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~whsu