I've spent a lot of my life researching and becoming fluent in a series of niche and odd pursuits. Below you can find my formal research, from my Bachelor's in Sound from Skidmore College and Master's in Computer Music from UCSD.
Catastrophe Theory and Sound Synthesis
The focus of my graduate school research focused on relating the models and equations of catastrophe theory to modeling acoustical systems and mapping control parameters to sound synthesis using these algorithms.
The first significant piece of work I did in this area was my paper, Acoustics-like dynamics in signal-based synthesis through parameter mapping, coauthored with Tamara Smyth here at UCSD. It was published in the SMC/SMAC 2013 proceedings in Stockholm, Sweden, where I presented the paper. The paper’s abstract is below:
The ideal expansion of a sound synthesis parameter mapping strategy is to introduce complexity and capability to a mapping without sacrificing its ease of use and acquisition. Following work done with dynamical systems and catastrophe theory by Rene Thom, Sir E.C. Zeeman and others, we are able to create a general purpose model for introducing extended behaviors in low complexity interfaces without adding control parameters or losing the possibility of reverting to a simple, near-linear mapping.
The system presented herein is accompanied by a brief exploration of its behavior, previous applications and techniques for implementation, hypotheses concerning its value in parameter mapping and early experimental results from its first implementation in the Pure Data synthesis language. Further hypotheses are offered based on the conclusions draw from these experiments and further research topics in dynamical systems in sound synthesis are discussed.
Read the paper if this interests you! I’ve also uploaded my work in Pd with this so far, modeling the cusp catastrophe for use in the Pd programming environment. This, too, is work a look, if you’re interested in implementing these models with your own work. I’ve included the source and makefile should you want to play with how I’ve written my external, or better understand its inner workings.
This paper was the second chapter of my Master's Thesis, "Building on Flat Land: Dimension in Musical Interaction." The thesis discusses both the needs for new interaction layers in parameter mapping, and my attempts at implementation and experimentation with the mappings. You can read it here.
My undergraduate thesis focused on particle sound synthesis, specifically a new algorithm I developed that is a hybrid of granular and additive synthesis techniques. The thesis project focused around the production of a full book, in which all manners of academic papers were included. This included the writing of an academic review article, an overview/history article, a pilot experiment, a discussion of techniques and an extrapolation on where further research could be fruitful and pertinent.
As a part of this project, I was awarded the Zankel Music Center Arts Planning Board grant to bring Johannes Goebel from EMPAC to Skidmore for a lecture alongside myself and Flip Phillips. At this lecture, entitled “The Pursuit of Novel Sound,” I both lectured on my thesis and revealed a new digital instrument which the grant allowed me to fully construct. That instrument is the Novo Sublimette.
A video of my lecture can be found here.
The digital edition of this thesis can be downloaded here. Please read the second page, discussing the embedded features of the digital edition of this thesis, it will greatly improve the experience.