Tag Archives: modal synthesis

Ten computers for the stars: the Reihe Laptop Ensemble

I’m glad to announce that the Reihe Laptop Ensemble will perform on December 3rd, 2016, at Teatro Arsenale of Milan, at the Contemporary Music Hub day.

The piece is part of my research at AGON on modal synthesis which I have presented
with M° Michele Tadini at the Prisma Meeting in Paris ( @IRCAM ) on July 2016 in collaboration with
the students of my Sound Design courses at SAE Institute of Milan.

Constellation is a performance for an ensemble of 10 laptop computers and use a star map as a music score. On the map, stars, clusters, galaxies, nebulas and pulsars are voiced with a sound, and every musician writes his/her own constellations on the screen. A walkthrough in the sky.

The milky way then sings with watery bubbles, the pulsars make short bursts and the fire of the stars became an ever-changing resonance. Like tiny actors in the sky, the objects of the firmament take life and paint an organic soundscape with infinite variations, all around the listener which lies in a completely dark space.

The sound of the celestial bodies is created and processed in realtime, with the Three Axis Modal Synthesis (TAMS) creating virtual acoustic instruments made of precious gems and metals like sapphire, ruby, gold, platinum, silver, beryl, diamond…

Constellation is compelling work of sound that brings the listeners into the vastness of Cosmos.












Reihe Laptop Ensemble: Constellation

Andrea Cerrato
Luca Cozzi
Nazareno De Luca
Eric Guizzo
Marco Miduri
Marco Neridetti
Lorenzo Rinaldi
Marcello Sodano
Giacomo Somaruga
Luca Pagan

Written and directed by
Giorgio Sancristoforo

Produced by AGON
In collaboration with SAE institute
and kindly supported by SIAE Classici di Oggi




Triple Axis Modal Synthesis

Presentation by Giorgio Sancristoforo and Michele Tadini
July 12th 10.00 AM IRCAM Centre Pompidou @ Prisma Meeting

With the contribution of the Reihe Laptop Ensemble musicians and SAE Institute Italy:

Marcello Sodano
Luca Pagan
Marco Neridetti
Eric Guizzo
Pietro Scialanga


Downloadable Aiff file + 10 pages pdf booklet from the band camp site

We are entering in a new era of sounds.

As multiphysics engineering softwares become more and more accessible and the personal computer gained the necessary power to run physics simulations at home, we’ve found a new meaning to the words sculpting sound. To the musician, until some time ago, not so many resources were available in the field of modal synthesis. They were almost all commercial products with a limited choice of models and materials. On top of that, polyphony was a serious issue. Due to intense calculations running in background, one could expect to run a maximum of 3, 4 voices at once.
But the point is that it’s not that interesting to just “strike a plate”.

What about the shape of the plate? Is it round or hexagonal? Is it made of glass, stone or plastic? If it’s metal, what sort of metal? Platinum? Palladium? Aluminium or chrome plated steel?

What if I want to design my own shapes? What’s the sound of a 30cm long and 1.2mm thick swirling tube made of glass connected to a thin platinum semi-sphere? What is the sound of a glass cello, plucked by water? What’s the sound of a gold heart-shaped box caressed by feathers? With the aid of computer modelling, an universe of new instruments is unfolding in front of our eyes, and the possibilities are endless.

As the listener enters for the first time in this world, it will take a few seconds for him to realise the striking realism of this sounds. The advantage of modelling sound sources with resonators lies not only in its semplicity, but also in its capability of creating hyper-realistic frequency and dynamic responses.
Since the modal system of synthesis requires just two basic elements: a resonator and an exciter, we can use any kind of sound as an exciter. Not only we can create it synthetically, but most imporantly, we can use real acoustical sources, from contact or aerial microphones or files.
A contact microphone attached on a wooden plate can drive a polyphonic metal model with such realism (both in sound produced and gesture made by the performer) that it is not distinguishable from a real acoustical instrument. And we can even go further by pre-processing exciters sounds with other well-known techniques, such as granular synthesis to look for more radical sounds..

Realism, however, here has only a functional role, rather than aesthetical.
The aim of this research is to create surrealistic instruments, impossible, or immensely hard to build and mise en oeuvre such as platinum, diamond, beryl, sapphire and plutonium resonators.

Physical modelling of course is not new, but new software tools bloomed during these years, thanks to research done in aerospace and building industries. These softwares create an essential bridge to set the foundamentals for a new form of numerical lutherie…

Also read:
http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/courses/g6610/fall2011/week11/modalpaper.pdfa b