Bryan Jacobs music composition and sound art

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Instrument Building / Sound Art

The computer-controlled flute is a new instrument I am developing at Columbia University's Computer Music Center. In this project, Max/MSP (via arduino) is used to operate solenoids attached to the keys on a common Boehm flute. This instrument offers new opportunities in flute performance including perfect rhythmic accuracy (especially evident when two or more instruments are playing together); perfect synchronization with electronic elements; impossible fingering combinations; and fingering changes at impossibly fast speeds. The air pressure is also dynamically controllable by the software.

While the computer-controlled flute offers interesting possibilities unto itself, this is primarily a composition project that will merge the flute's performance with synthetic and pre-recorded elements. Because the timing of the mechanized fingering changes are highly accurate, synchronization with a tape component can be exact. This creates a fusion of live and electronic sounds at a level heretofore only achievable through live-processing. However, due to the nature of the fixed tape component, there exists an even higher level of detailed control since the tape component can be created beforehand in the studio.

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