Visualising the sonic environment

Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts




Originally presented as: Vickery, L. (2016, March). Visualising the sonic environment. Paper presented at EVAA 2016, Electronic Visualisation and the Arts Conference, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia.


This paper describes score creating software implemented in the visual programming language MaxMSP, the Lyrebird: Environment Player. Lyrebird analyses and visualises significant features of a sonic environment as a graphic score, that is scrolled from right to left across the computer screen. The aim of the software is to create scores from field recordings with enough semantic detail to allow performer(s) to interact with the sounds of the environment. The form of interaction is open to the performer, but is envisaged to include precise emulation of the auditory features of the recording, improvisation informed by them or a combination of both. The software was specifically designed to partially remove the composer from the loop by not requiring any further specification or intervention in any performance than the generation of the score itself. It was also designed as a near-realtime tool, in which the environment of place and time of the performance could be reflected contemporaneously. It is part of a project to construct processes allowing for data interchange between visual and sonic media: to create a continuum in which sound could be visualized and then resonified by both live performers and digital means (Vickery 2014b, 2015).

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