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Crosswire For violin digital signal processing and projected image. Ed Wright

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Uploaded on Jun 6, 2011

Crosswire is a piece of music, manifested as a computer program. Historically many of the artefacts of musical creation have been almost interchangeable with the actions that they represent, CD recordings and notated sheet music spring to mind. In addition to this many of the systems set down by composers to create a piece of music are sets of parameters or restrictions within which performers work and create new, fresh interpretations. This becomes clear when considering the almost total lack of volume, timbral, or articulatory information written down in a Bach fugue or the defining nature of the chord progression in many types of jazz. Crosswire builds on these phenomena and rather than being a computer program designed as a way to facilitate the creation or execution of a piece of music, instead is the piece of music.
The violin part is 'freely' improvised, and the output of the instrument is fed into the computer. Within Crosswire the sound of the violin is analysed to provide information on the pitch of the note being played, how loud it is and its harmonic content. This is then used to turn on or off a number of different types of processors and from or break links between them. This is displayed to the performer and audience as a hexagonal constellation (see below). Each dot represents a processor, when a dot is small the processor is off, when it is large it is on, and lines between dots symbolise links sending audio out of one process to another
From top left clockwise: clean output (no processing, shown here on), delays, additive synth, panning (left/right movement), sampler, comb filter. A number of links can also be seen such as from panning to the sampler and comb filter.
Each of these processors is in turn controlled by the pitch/volume/harmonic analysis. In the case of the delays on/off/link stated are triggered, and delay time and feedback are also changed in real time as a result of the analysis.
Within this system the violin is played and its output is processed. The performer makes judgements as to how progress based upon the sound coming out, thus entering a 'strange loop' of interaction as the music played not only creates sonic material but also controls how that material is transformed and presented to the world.

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