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Lissajous

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Published on Jun 8, 2012

Jules Antoine Lissajous (1822--1880),was a French mathematician whose work led to the conceptual framework upon which my laser animation and oscillographic work has been based since 1967. Wikipedia is a good source of basic information on Lissajous and his work.

Following the links from a Google search of Lissajous will lead you to websites that permit you to play with some basic Lissajous figures. What you see in this piece are not the typical Lissajous figures because they result from a laser animator that has considerable nonlinearity, nonlinearity via the response and resonant frequencies of the xy galvonometers as well as in their drivers, stereo wavetrains from a music synthesizer. The laser animator is an instrument for artists not scientists working in a physics lab so nonlinearity is embraced.

This is one of a subset of related pieces that I've placed on YouTube; the subset includes Found Souls, Alchemical Cruzan, Emergent Visual Music, Pythagoras, Lissajous, Astor - Part Two, Shiori, The Unison, Qingling and Study 4 - Yo-Yo. The imagery and the sound of this piece are produced by music synthesizer-driven (in this case a Synthi AKS) laser animation captured with a video camera and routed into an audio/video recording system. The drivers, the stereo outputs of the synthesizer, carry audio signals which are, in the final analysis, streaming numbers with ever changing ratios that ease in and out of whole numbers (Pythagorean tuning based on perfect 5ths and octaves). The art game is one of achieving a musical state of dynamic balance by easing in and out of perfect whole number ratios. That results in the playable phase changes that create the virtual objects that are fundamentally Lissajous figures. To me this simple process gives deep insight into the nature of the life process - the nonstop numerical tuning of ephemeral relationships to create forms that change over time. This particular piece is excerpted material from one of the DVDs of my recent project entitled, EMERGENT MUSIC AND VISUAL MUSIC: INSIDE STUDIES. That project includes two books, a set of 4 DVDs and 8 CDs all of which are available via Amazon.com. The music synthesizer (a Synthi AKS) and laser animation system used to create this piece can be seen on my website - http://www.ronpellegrinoselectronicar....

What you hear is what you see; and what you see is what you hear. Both the sound and the imagery are created from one and the same set of stereo audio signals. The Synthi AKS creates the stereo audio signals which are routed to a standard stereo audio amplifier. The amplifier stereo outputs that would normally drive speakers are instead connected to small special galvanometers with arms to which are glued very light weight mirrors that deflect a laser beam. The mirrors vibrate according to the nature of the synthesizer's audio signals in conjunction with their own inherent electro-mechanical resonant frequencies. One mirror is for the x-axis, the other is for the y-axis. The mirrors are configured such that when the laser beam strikes one mirror it is reflected back to the other mirror, which then projects the beam onto a reflective surface such as a screen or a wall; from that surface it is recorded by a video camcorder that also records the sound simultaneously. For decades I used this tool to explore the common perceptual ground for the ear and the eye. The process creates an event that is a fundamental form of visual music which, as a composer and performer, I've used in public performances and demonstrations and in my university classes in psychophysics, the physics of the senses.


This piece is one of a very large set of pieces born of a conversational process . For over four and a half decades as a composer I've been exploring a compositional process called emergent music, a process with roots in conversation. Employing the full range of electronic and acoustic resources I've run many hundreds of experimental studies in public and in private working to get a sense of both the intricacies and the scope of a field that seems virtually limitless. A few years ago I put my findings in public forms accessible to whomever might want to look over my shoulder and/or to join the hunt for the limits of the field. The published project is called EMERGENT MUSIC AND VISUAL MUSIC: INSIDE STUDIES; it includes 2 books, 6 CDs and a set of 4 DVDs all available via Amazon.com. More information as well as excerpts are available on my website - http://www.ronpellegrinoselectronicar...

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