Archivi categoria: General

A tactile canebrake: transforming a natural element in a sound source

I took a recording of a cane from a canebrake (Arundo Donax) continuously swept by wind. This recording was then filtered in order to turn its noise, from time to time, into a particular frequency. Eight different versions of the soundfile were created. These eight soundfiles were loaded into eight different Micro-SD cards, feeding Vibe-Tribe Troll 2.0 battery-powered vibration speakers. The speakers were attached to eight different dried canes, planted into the soil as to form an artificial sound canebrake.

The installation, called Canneto Sonante (“sounding canebrake”) could be experienced by listening to the polyphony created by the different canes, by putting one’s ear onto the canes (listening to a particular internal background resonance, peculiar to each cane), or touching one or more canes at the same time for a tactile experience.

Made for Imagonirmia Prize Residency in Chiaravalle/Milano (Italy), June 2016.

You can follow the making of this work by reading these three posts:

Sounding Canebrake, I

Sounding Canebrake, II

Sounding canebrake, III

Cool patterns created on water surfaces by vibration

“Polifonia liquida”, sound and light installation exhibited at Inter Arts Center for the Gallery Night of Malmö (Sweden) on the 26th of September, 2015.

Eight plexi plates mounted on vibration speakers are filled with water, which receives the vibration.

Photo shots from a close distance show patterns created by vibration on the liquid surface.

General view of the installation.

Overview of the installation (Credit: Kristin Warfvinge)


Close-up at 23 Hz


Close-up at 24 Hz


Close-up at 26 Hz


Close-up at 28 Hz


Close-up at 30 Hz


Close-up at 31 Hz


Close-up at 35 Hz


Close-up at 43 Hz


Close-up at 55 Hz


Close-up at 56 Hz


Close-up at 64 Hz


Close-up at 72 Hz

Using a wooden floor as an eight-channel tactile sound system

BZZZ – International Sound Art Festival took place for the second time in the old windmill of Harplinge (near Halmstad, Sweden) from the 3rd to the 5th of July 2015.

I participated with a new installation, called “Wooden Waves”, in which eight vibrating devices were transforming the wooden planks of the 4th floor of the windmill in a resonating surface. People was asked to lay down on the floor to experience the vibrating waves and percussive sounds flowing along their body.
For now only some pictures are available, but a video and a more detailed post will follow during next weeks or months.




“Perturbance” as played by Elena García

Ghost studies, no. 2 “Perturbance” for double bass and embedded electronics (E. García)


Another performance of “Perturbance” (see here the article about the first performance by Jonathan Heilbron at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse 2015).
Elena García from Feedback Trio is captured during rehearsals before the concert at SuecaSax, Sueca (Valencia, Spain).

Touch my string. “Perturbance” for double bass and embedded electronics

Ghost studies, no. 2 “Perturbance” for double bass and embedded electronics

Jonathan Heilbron, double bass

47° Darmstadt Ferienkurse

August 15th, 2014, Kunsthalle Darmstadt

A series of three works with vibration devices embedded in musical instruments has been produced in the frame of the 47° Darmstadt Ferienkurse (“Expanded Music” workshop, coordinated by Simon Steen-Andersen).

The piece shown in the video is the Ghost Study number two, called Perturbance, and written in close collaboration with the double-bassist Jonathan Heilbron.

After a session with the performer, where I recorded a number of percussive interventions he made on the body and strings of the instrument, I reordered these gestures from the most inharmonic to the most stable spectrum (the A string of the double-bass). While building the electronic track (which was supposed to be played back through the vibration speaker), I created different reverberations of the percussive gestures. Some of this reverberations were infinite, and I could use them as static sounds which were triggered by the percussive interventions of the performer. The overall path of the piece lead to the final, loud 55 Hz sine wave emerging from some bowed notes. The A string was thus shaking, and placing the finger on the string made the timbre of the resonance change with the pressure of the finger. At the end of the piece, this resonance seemed to be stopped — as torn off — and re-activated by sudden gestures of the hands of the double-bassist “muffling” the whole instrument. Both this theatrical situation and the reverberations in the previous interventions were quite effective in giving to the instrument a life of its own. The interaction between the performer and the double-bass (the man and the artifact) was not anymore one-directional, but the instrument responded almost consciously to the stimuli of the instrumentalist, and seemed to make decisions of its own.

Being the instrument itself, and not a separated speaker, the resonating surface (electronic tracks can be sent to contact transducer embedded in the instruments) which emits sound, it’s often difficult to perceive (acoustically) the difference between an instrument played by a human and an instrument equipped with vibration capabilities. This way of augmenting the capabilities of an instrument leads to new possibilities in composition for instruments and tape and live-electronics, in a way reconsidering and reframing the live-electronics practice.

“Tactile headset”, listen with your head

This is the second work created at the residency at Park in Progress (Mons, Belgium), September 2nd-11th 2014. The other installation was “Subverted spatialization interface”, described in a previous post: check it out here.

“Tactile headset” is an installation that explores tactile perception of sound as vibration.


I built a cluster of four vibrating polystyrene spheres, hanging from the ceiling. Sound was traveling from sphere to sphere and the audience could experience it with the bones and skin of their head, as in a tactile quadraphonic headphone set. This work was a way to reference headphone listening (even binaural listening, since there were four sources), but translated into the tactile domain.


Picture by Zoé Tabourdiot


Picture by Zoé Tabourdiot

New sound installation: “Subverted spatialization interface”

Foto: Zoé Tabourdiot

During the residency at Park in Progress (Mons, Belgium), September 2nd-11th 2014, I was able to produce two new sound installation involving contact speakers.

In “Subverted spatialization interface”, one of the two new works, I used three vibrating devices under a 70×70 cm wooden board. The devices were shaking the board at 30 and 60 Hz.

The piece was shown during the European night of young creation (Sept. 11th) and the documentation video was exhibited 14th-27th September (Site des anciens abattoirs, Mons).

“Subverted spatialization interface” is an ironic installation which presents a real-world version of the software interface used by electroacoustic musician to spatialize sound, often represented on computer screens as a circle that the musician can move within a square. In this installation, the spatialized vibration under a square wooden board causes a little ball to stroll around. The dimensions of visual input and audio output are then subverted: imperceptibly spatialized sound is the cause which produces visual, concrete results.

Realized at the Park in Progress sound art residency 2014 in Mons (Belgium).

Transcultures / Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes / Citysonic

Foto: Zoé Tabourdiot

Foto: Zoé Tabourdiot

Spectral and vibration response tests on wooden planks

These are tests made on eight wooden planks (silver fir), ca. 10 cm wide, 2 cm thick, length variable between 150 and 230 cm. They were placed on a bubble wrap.

2014-06-18 10.55.39.jpg

I sent two different signals travelling through the eight vibro speakers (Mighty Dwarfs, attached to the planks via tape). Both signals were controlled via a Max/MSP patch (something between a drum machine and a granulator) which could modulate the pitch and amplitude envelope of each grain, and the duration and tempo over time.

1. Sine wave (varying around 60 Hz) continuously travelling from channel 1 to 8.

  1. Download here the 8-channel file used for the test.
  2. Download here the stereo mixdown of the previous file used for the sonogram.
  3. Download here the stereo recording (ZOOM H4) of the wooden planks resonating.

Sonogram of the original file (stereo mixdown):

Sine - clean

Sonogram of the resonating wooden planks:

Sine - wood

As you can see, the wood resonates with a lot of harmonics and side-noises (other objects were probably resonating as well) even if we send a “pure” sine wave.

2. Sawtooth wave, two sets: one around 60 Hz, travelling from channels 1 to 4; the other slightly higher (one semitone), traveling from channel 5 to 8.

  1. Download here the 8-channel file used for the test.
  2. Download here the stereo mixdown of the previous file used for the sonogram.
  3. Download here the stereo recording (ZOOM H4) of the wooden planks resonating.

Sonogram of the original file (stereo mixdown):

Sawtooth - clean

Sonogram of the resonating wooden planks:

Sawtooth - wood

Research mission

Tonight I’m starting this blog where I’ll post articles about my research project on tactile devices.
You can have a glimpse of the author at


THE MISSION (in short)

Contact speakers are sound devices which turn any surface into a resonant instrument. My research will focus on the possibilities given by the use of multiple contact speakers, connected with their tactile capabilities: multiple sources of vibration can stimulate our tactile perception in different parts of our body (what I call “spatialization of the tactile sensation“), for example if applied on a chair. Sound can then not only be heard, but also “touched”. Being able to separately control multiple vibration devices means also to identify spatial implications of sound movement, which opens up the path for an artistic use of the sound system.

On the other hand, making objects vibrate may lead to create even visual results…


This research project is funded by Kulturbryggan (Sweden). The activities at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse (August 2014) are also supported by Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien (Sweden).


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