Friday – March 6, 2020 – Papers – 10:30am-12:00pm – Studio A, Wood Hall

Papers – 1030am-12:00pm – Studio A, Wood Hall – 20+10 for questions

  • Jason Palamara – Destructive and Inventive Instrument Development with IUPUI’s DISEnsemble
  • Daniel McKemie – Tape Delay Feedback in the Web Browser
  • Jared Bradley Tubbs – Unifying Sonification: Comparing and Codifying Standards of Sonification between Scientific and Artistic Communities


Destructive and Inventive Instrument Development with IUPUI’s DISEnsemble

Jason Palamara, primary author.
Elaine Cooney, secondary author.

Jason Palamara, paper presenter.

This paper describes the recently developed Destructive and Inventive Systems Ensemble at IUPUI, an undergraduate performance group that challenges students to learn live ensemble performance, while simultaneously experimenting with instrument design via electrical engineering and hardware hacking. For the past four semesters this fledgling student group has presented a number of concerts and workshops, and developed a number of novel instruments including “hacks” of existing instruments and devices, such as: The Apocalypse Piano, a new method of preparing the piano with bare speakers and electric shock probes; The Scan-Melodion, a Theremin-like instrument which takes advantage of the unintentional RF interference created by document scanners and; a percussion orchestra (Trashchestra) consisting of glass, plastic containers, parts from a non-functioning printer, and a large number of broken headphones. DISEnsemble’s other focus, Invention, involves exposing the students to the Arduino programming language, as a method for interfacing with simple sensing devices such as flex and light sensors. The aim here is to build instruments that generate noises that can be controlled with four fundamental parameters of music, pitch, volume, duration, and timbre. Once instruments have been created, the DISEnsemble turns to musical performance, commissioning scores from living composers or students which can be performed by novel instruments. The DISEnsemble performs at least once per semester, giving the students the experience performing in groups and making music with novel instruments. 

Jason Palamara is a technologist, composer, performer, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He specializes in the development of AI music software and the creation of new music for dance. He is the founder and director of IUPUI’s DISEnsemble (Destructive/Inventive Systems Ensemble – an ensemble devoted to the performance and study of hardware hacking, circuit bending, and other destructive forms of music-making). His latest album, [bornwith 2brains] is available on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, CDBaby and anywhere else one might look for new music. He regularly performs and composes music for modern dance as a solo artist and maintains long term creative partnerships with electroacoustic musician Justin Comer (under the name JCϟjp) and percussionist-composer Scott Deal.


Tape Delay Feedback in the Web Browser

Daniel McKemie

Pauline Oliveros’ Tape Delay Feedback System proved to be an important development in live/performative electronic music when it was first introduced in the early 1960s.  Having written about the structures and realizations of the system extensively in her article, Tape Delay Techniques for Electronic Music Composers, the system saw many variations throughout the remaining decade.  With the setup functioning as an interactive live electronic music performance system, early recordings with it explored heterodyning phenomena using two superaudio oscillators combined with both each other and with the bias frequencies of the tape machines.  The controlling of feedback levels through line amplifiers allowed for complex sonic environments to emerge and unfold in real-time. Later recordings would see other input devices being introduced such as modular synthesizers, record players, and voice.

Daniel McKemie (né Steffey) is an electronic musician, percussionist, and composer based in New York City. Currently, he is focusing on technology that seeks to utilize the internet and browser technology to realize a more accessible platform for multimedia art. He is also researching and developing new ways to interface modular synthesizers to software and vice versa. This recent work has allowed for complex, interactive performance environments to emerge, in which the software generates compositional processes and actions in the form of control voltage generation sent to the synthesizer, and conversely can analyze control voltage signals from the synthesizer to determine future activity.


Unifying Sonification: Comparing and Codifying Standards of Sonification between Scientific and Artistic Communities

Jared Bradley Tubbs

Since its conception in the late twentieth century, sonification has become an increasingly popular field for artists and scientists alike, providing audiences with unique perspectives into data. This shared use has not gone without debate; many examples of sonification used in artists’ works are believed to be unfaithful to the data used, a distorted form that functions to emphasize the emotional effect desired. Unifying the definition and standards of sonification would increase communication between the two communities, ideally leading to a higher quality and quantity of future collaborations. This paper uses a standard for sonification codified in The Sonification Handbook by Thomas Hermann, viewing recent examples of works claiming to use sonification through the lens of their ability (or inability) to meet these standards. Through examination, it is seen that collaborative efforts between members of the artistic and scientific communities are more likely to match standards of sonification set by Hermann as well as create works of art that have more detailed relationships to the data involved.

Jared Bradley Tubbs, native to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a composer and percussionist currently pursuing the Master’s degree in Music Composition, studying under Dr. Christopher Biggs and Dr. Lisa Coons at the University of Western Michigan after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition at the University of Alabama.

Since he began his studies, JBT has had numerous performances by various ensembles, including the UA Contemporary Ensemble and UA Percussion Ensemble, and his work for solo violin, “Unknown Conversations”, is featured on PARMA’s Early Musings: New Music for Solo Violin. His collaboration with choreographer Rebecca Salzer for the premiere of his work To Whom It May Concern for fixed media and dancers received multiple performances during the 2016 Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre season. His work for live biofeedback electronics, Internal, was featured in an installation in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center from May 4 to May 15, 2018. 52Factorial, an improvisational work featuring live electronics, was chosen for performance at the 49th Annual Festival of New Music at Ball State University.

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