Interactive Digital Musical Instrument Design 1995-2023

Music Department Colloquium series guest Matt Wright—Technical Director of CCRMA.

From Matt: I have been designing, building, performing with, refining, debugging, and reviving a collection of digital musical instruments since the mid 1990s.  I started this path in the footsteps of David Wessel, fortunate to learn from and work with him at CNMAT from 1990 (when I took Music 158) to 2008 (when I finally resigned as CNMAT’s Musical System Designer to pursue a postdoc at the University of Victoria).  I like to see myself as carrying on many of David’s ideas about creating new musical instruments, including “low entry fee, with no ceiling on virtuosity”, low latency, instruments created in the context of a scientific understanding of music perception and cognition, “composed” instruments specialized for particular pieces or contexts and with embodied compositional “work,” an enthusiasm for improvisation, metaphors for musical control, and “personal” instruments that reflect their creator’s idiosyncracies and unique musical personalities.
In this presentation I will give a look inside the design and implementation of some of the software-based instruments that are part of my current live performance setup and will use for my concert at CNMAT later that evening.  This hodgepodge of Max patches spans many spectra:  from the tried and true to the experimental; from well-engineered / reusable / shareable software components to messy expedient hacks; and from ideas I believe very strongly to problems I’m not so sure about.

Specifically I aspire to discussing instruments including: “catch and throw” live sampling and playback, shifty looping and related variants, “scrubbing” sinusoidal models via Wacom tablet, two beloved tricks to enhance simple one-shot sample playback, ensemble feedback networks, and some new takes on I-IV-V.

Short Bio:

Dr. Matthew Wright is a media systems designer, improvising composer/musician, computer music researcher, father of an energetic 5-year-old, and the Technical Director of Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). His computer music career began at UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), first learning Max in 1990 from David Wessel’s Music 158, then joining the staff as a researcher from 1993-2008 before stints at the University of Victoria and UC Santa Barbara.  His research has included real-time mapping of musical gestures to sound synthesis, helping develop and promote the Sound Description Interchange Format (SDIF) and Open Sound Control (OSC) standards, computer modeling of the perception of musical rhythm, and musical creation with technology in a live performance context.   As a musician, he plays a variety of Middle Eastern and Afghan plucked lutes, Afro-Brazilian percussion, and computer-based instruments of his own design, in both traditional music contexts and experimental new works.

Matt will perform with John Schott on the evening of Friday, April 28 in the CNMAT Main Room. Details here.

Add to iCal
Find on Google Maps

Friday, April 28, 2023, 3:00pm to 4:30pm
1750 Arch Street
Berkeley, CA
This Event is Free and Open to the Public