Featured image: A six-channel hemispherical speaker, a central tool of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra and sound-producer for a huge variety of instruments.
This week’s show features Mike Mulshine, Research Specialist on Electronic Music and Assistant Director of PLOrk here at Princeton, who walks us through the ins and outs of designing electronic instruments. Technology allows us to separate the interface from the an instrument’s sound-producing body—for example, most synthesizers have a set of piano keys, capable of producing waves that travel through a PC and other digital processors until finally reaching a speaker that makes sound. This separation allows us amazing flexibility: any sound can be made digitally, by a performer doing any action at all. With limitless options, how do designers make expressive but usable instruments? Mike discusses one example, a project by himself and Dan Trueman called the Bitklavier, where modular coding gives composers freedom to electrify a piano layer by layer.
In other news: Geologists are questioning longstanding theories about the middle of tectonic plates—cratons—that are supposed to be stable over billions of years. New research indicates they might be more dynamic than we thought.
The playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.