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Master’s Student Explores Sound Through Movement

1 February 2013

Master’s Student Explores Sound Through Movement

The desire to create electronic music prompted Victoria University Master’s student Byron Mallett to design Sonoromancer, a computer programme that turns movement into sound.

Sonoromancer creates a smoke-like interpretation of a person’s body movements using an Xbox 360 Kinect camera coupled with a projector. The result is a unique composition of audio and visual elements, with each movement making a different sound.

“You have to think about how your movements will create sound, which causes people to move differently depending on the sound they want to hear back,” says Mr Mallett.

Mr Mallett spent three months on the project as part of Victoria’s new Computer Graphics programme, set up in 2012 in collaboration with Weta Digital and other local industry partners.

The project was inspired by previous ideas about using sensors to control effects applied to live violin performances. The idea was developed into a programme that creates electronic music rather than just enhancing it.

“I was caught by surprise to see how people interacted with the programme as a method of physical expression rather than as solely a musical tool.”

The project was initially designed for musicians, but evolved into a piece which allows people with little musical knowledge to participate in spontaneous musical composition.

Mr Mallett plans on improving Sonoromancer to make it suitable for multiple performers and to develop the visual aspect of the programme.

“I'd love to see the project reach a stage where I can distribute it to others and see the different creations people will make.”

Here is a YouTube clip of Sonoromancer:


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