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Title: Enactive sound machines : theatrical strategies for sonic interaction design
Author: Keenan, Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 6655
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2019
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Embodied interaction with digital sound has been subject to much prior research, but a method of coupling simple and intuitive hand actions to the vast potential of digital soundmaking in a perceptually meaningful way remains elusive. At the same time, artistic practices centred on performative soundmaking with objects remain overlooked by researchers. This thesis explores the design and performance of theatre sound effects in Europe and the U.S. in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in order to converge the embodied knowledge of soundmaking at the heart of this historical practice with present-day design and evaluation strategies from Sonic Interaction Design and Digital Musical Instrument design. An acoustic theatre wind machine is remade and explored as an interactive sounding object facilitating a continuous sonic interaction with a wind-like sound. Its main soundmaking components are digitally modelled in Max/MSP. A prototype digital wind machine is created by fitting the acoustic wind machine with a rotary encoder to activate the digital wind-like sound in performance. Both wind machines are then evaluated in an experiment with participants. The results show that the timbral qualities of the wind-like sounds are the most important factor in how they are rated for similarity, that the rotational speed of both wind machines is not clearly perceivable from their sounds, and that the enactive properties of the acoustic wind machine have not yet been fully captured in the digital prototype. The wind machine's flywheel mechanism is also found to be influential in guiding participants in their performances. The findings confirm the acoustic wind machine's ability to facilitate enactive learning, and a more complete picture of its soundmaking components emerges. The work presented in this thesis opens up the potential of mechanisms to couple simple hand actions to complex soundmaking, whether acoustic or digital, in an intuitive way.
Supervisor: Pauletto, Sandra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available