Grafting Acoustic Instruments and Signal Processing: Creative Control and Augmented Expressivity

Daniel Overholt, Adrian Freed

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In this study, work is presented on a hybrid acoustic / electric violin. The instrument has embedded processing that provides real-time simulation of acoustic body models using DSP techniques able to gradually transform a given body model into another, including extrapolations beyond the models to explore interesting new timbres. Models can include everything from various violin bodies to guitars, sitars with their sympathetic strings, and even physically impossible acoustic bodies. The development also presents several practical approaches to sensor augmentation and gestural playing techniques that can be applied to bowed-string and other acoustic instruments, in order to provide immediate creative control over the possibilities offered by DSP. The study has focused on augmenting the expressivity of the violin towards finding novel timbral possibilities, rather than a goal of simulating prior acoustic violins with high fidelity.

The opportunity to control a virtually malleable body while playing, i.e., a model that changes reverberant resonances in response to player input, results in interesting audio effects. Other common audio effects can also be employed and simultaneously controlled via the musician’s movements. For example, gestural tilting of the instrument is tracked via an embedded Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which can be assigned to alter parameters such as the wet/dry mix of a simple octave-doubler or other more advanced audio effect, further augmenting the expressivity of the player.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event166th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 2 Dec 20136 Dec 2013


Conference166th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

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