A Certain Way
of Discourse

A Certain Way of DiscourseSteven Lewis
00:00 / 06:21

Included as part of the proceedings at
2022  SEAMUS

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A Certain Way of Discourse is an experiment in designing an interactive, computer mediated system for electroacoustic drum set performance. It is a performance-driven system that uses transformative response methods to broaden the sonic possibilities of the acoustic drum set. In an effort to expand the spectrum of these timbral possibilities, motion-tracking technology and real-time audio analysis were applied to the original performance, providing the drummer with the flexibility to combine orthodox drumming gestures with more elongated physical motions. The data from a wearable MUGIC® sensor acted as a gestural control source for the processing of a drum solo, providing the acoustic sounds with alternative timbral and sonic morphologies. Using data generated from smoother, broader motions can be leveraged to expand the scope of timbral options at a drum set players’ disposal. This would yield a sonically diverse palette to which the drummer can then access simultaneously to their original, acoustic performance, and represents a systemic method of designing “extended” techniques” for the drumset without modifying the physical characteristics of the instrument in any way.


The MUGIC® sensor also controls visual processing, and manages the triggering of all the disparate components of the piece (spoken word, effects sends, dry signal amount). However, while the MUGIC® sensor control audio effects processing, camera vision techniques (namely blob tracking) are employed to track up to eight "spheres" prominently featured in the visuals. Spheres are continuously tracked as “blobs” in the virtual television space. These active blob counts- which change as the number of spheres increases or decreases - control the spatialization of sound. The piece is programmed for 8 speakers, with each speaker receiving signal based upon the number of blobs currently being tracked in space.