Author Archives: Kevinernste

Thursday visitor, Erin Gee

Students of Music 2421: Our Thursday visitor will be composer Erin Gee. In preparation for her discussion of “New Uses of the Voice (the vocal cavity as human ‘space’)”, she suggests considering the following questions:

As you prepare for class, here are some questions to ponder, a few excerpts to listen to, and an exercise to practice:

George Aperghis
Recitations 1-14 for solo voice (1977-78) – excerpts, #12 and #13:

Brian Ferneyhough
Time and Motion Study III (1974) for 16 voices with percussion, electronic amplification (and optional loop-tape delay) –

Dieter Schnebel
Für Stimmen…missa est (1956/67-68) for three choir groups and tape ad lib.



1. How is listening to vocal music without text (non-semantic vocal music) similar to or different from listening to vocal music with a text in a language we understand? How does the non-semantic use of the voice change our perception of the vocal performer?

a. What are the vocal sound-materials that are used? Where do they come from? What are the compositional techniques that are used?

2. How does a text help guide a composer’s compositional choices? When a text is no longer present or used by the composer for the vocal line, what compositional choices does a composer have to make then?

3. There are three parts of sound production in the vocal tract: the active articulator (tongue or lips), the place of articulation within the mouth, and the type of airflow (where the air comes from and how it moves through the system). Following is an exercise to practice awareness of some possibilities of articulation:

a. Pronounce the syllable “tɑ” (with “ɑ” as in “father”)

b. Notice where the tongue is placed on the roof of the mouth. This point is called the place of articulation.

c. Now move the tongue to different places of articulation in different parts while still trying to pronounce the syllable “tɑ”. At what points does the sound change and why? At what points are you no longer able to produce a recognizable “tɑ” syllable?

d. Write a list of observations about the vocal tract that you discovered from this exercise and a list of the sounds that you found most interesting as part of a journal entry on the voice. Notice in particular what the breath does to create the “t” syllable. What is necessary in the mouth for this to take place?

4. As possibly the only living expert on your own voice, what would you consider to be some of the limitations to the voice or vocal tract that you have come across? These could be specific to your own voice or more general to the vocal tract. And more importantly:

What would be some possible solutions to these limitations?

You could approach this question either from the standpoint of a theoretical “re-designing” of the vocal tract or designing additional systems/technology that could be used in tandem with the vocal tract.

Sound fundamentals and sound “objects”

Students of Music 7411: Below are some links of interest from today’s seminar discussion. Think of these as points of reference for you in your own investigations. As I suggested in class, these readings can generally be considered informational and investigatory rather then “required”, providing context for our “workshop” explorations and discussion.

First, some visualizations of the workings of the human ear in response to sound:

1 (Auditory Transduction…with Beethoven), 2 the “Organ of Corti—home of the “hairs”/cilia

Pierre Schaeffer’s Traite´ des objets musicaux does not have an English translation, but there are some references to it’s concepts in Schaeffer’s other work as well as in writing around it, in particular by Brian Kane and Michael Chion (both below).

Pierre Schaeffer’s Solfege de l’objet Sonore (1966)

Pierre Schaeffer’s Acoustmatics (from Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, 2004) – ML197 .A85 2004

Brian Kane’s L’objet sonore maintenant

Michael Chion’s Guide des objets sonores (Guide to Sound Objects), in english

Acousmatic composer Robert Normandeau’s discussion and proposed revision to Schaefer’s TARTYP (TAbleau Récapitulatif de la TYPologie) from Traite´ des objets musicaux.

Some additional resources, “more to explore”:

An interview of Pierre Scheaffer by with composer/performer Tim Hodgkinson

Several tracks from the 3 CD accompanying set (with translation) to Solfege de l’objet Sonore (1966)

A series of discussions / interviews with Pierre Schaeffer on his then recent publication of the Traite´ des objets musicaux as well as a general overview of his work. You may wish to have your browser “translate” the text to get a better sense of the dialog.

Brian Kane’s (long) Pierre Schaeffer, the Sound Object, and the Acousmatic Reduction (2014)

There are many, many other resources on Schaeffer, including pieces (ubuweb link), some of which are likely familiar to you from previous courses.

Concert Schedule, Dec. 6th 2015


Below is the concert schedule. Please let me know ASAP if there are any issues or errors that need correcting. Rehearsal times will appear here momentarily.

Computer Artist(s) Rehearsal
Own David Cui 12 noon
Studio C Jocelyn Lee 2:10
Studio D Esther Okech 2:00
Own Manuela Rios 11:50
None Dylan Farrell & Zander Cammarata 1:50
Own Ethan Fuld 1:40
Studio D Salmaan Qadir 11:40
Own Raushaun Mitchell 10:20
Own He He 10:20
Studio C Peiwen Yang 11:50
Phil Fargo 1:30
Own Tianlang Shan & Daniel Gil 1:20
Studio C Eric Lippin 2:20
Studio D & Own? Jane Kim & David Lee 1:10
Own Christine Hwang 11:30
Studio C Nick Goldman 11:20
Own M. Jenae Lowe 1:00
Studio D & Own? Sam Bromer & Jonathan Speier 10:00
Own Martin Mahoney & Colin Barber 10:10
Michelle Savran 12:50
Studio C and D Sanat Valecha & Gil Israel 11:00
Own Harold Fu 12:40
Studio C Carl Pastore 12:30
Own Yoon Cha 12:20
Studio D Nupur Bhatt 10:50
Own Charles Austin & Dallas Jordan 12:10
Studio D Serim An 10:40
Own Hermann Yibokou 10:30

Materials for class

PD patches and soundfiles: pd_Materials

PD audio playback pactches from class

Please see attached, the examples from class on various methods for playing soundfiles in PD:

PD Patches download: audio_players

Listen to WikiPedia updates

Click here o listen to WikiPedia updates as musical tones:


Controllers from lecture

Osculator (with patches for Wiimote, Wacom, mobile/touchosc, guitar hero, etc):

Here are some links to controllers from lecture.

FaceOSC, BlinkOSC (including examples for PD, Live, and others):

BONUS: a graphical sequencer, Iannix…this will blow your mind 😉

Alex Kresovich

Former student of Professor Kevin Ernste (Music 1421: Introduction to Computer Music, and Music 2421: Computers in Music Performance) Alex Kresovich (aka “AK”) has made a growing career for himself as a producer including a new track, “Thorns”, on CeeLo Green‘s latest album.

CeeLo, Heart Blanche on iTunes

The song can be streamed on SoundCloud here:

Before that, among many notable accomplishments–and just as an indicator of his level of exposure. his track “Cold War” has received nearly 2 million listens on SoundCloud since it’s release there in February.

He was recently interviewed here:
ASCAP Interview with Producer Alex Kresovich

Here, too, for fun is his original Music 1421 “Assignment 0” class blog introduction (old website):

Materials from today

John Chowning’s original paper on FM synthesis

Chowning’s own work, Stria, using the Golden Mean as the carrier/modulator ratio

Also interesting and relevant to the listening, Chowning’s paper on the perception of sounds moving ins space, including Doppler shifting and other effects.

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