Suspended Violin

Ambisonic audiovisual piece for violin
March 2021
Installed / Performed
CCRMA Transitions Concert
October 8, 2021

This piece is a heavily technologically-mediated audiovisual reconstruction of the violin. Gestural sonic figures are roughly evocative of the various shapes of the instrument. The piece begins with the scroll and tuning pegs, corresponding to whirring, circular sounds like light machinery. It moves down the neck, across the fingerboard and strings, scratched, plucked, and eventually bowed, leaping into the resonances within the body of the instrument, and resurfaces at the traditional sonic locus between the fingerboard and the bridge where the first bowed sounds are heard. Moving towards the bridge, higher harmonics are scaffolded and constructed in overtone series recalling the intricate architecture of that part of the instrument. The piece concludes with rubbing texture of the bow against the bridge, tailpiece, and chin rest.  

The video encircles a point cloud of the violin. Over 300 images were used to generate a 300-million point 3D model, capturing immense detail as well as abstract artifacts from quirks in lighting and background. The spiraling trajectory from the top to bottom of the model explores both the form of the violin and the cloud-like computer-generated artifacts.

The piece is in fifth-order ambisonics. Spatialization allows for gestural sonic ‘sculpting’, such that spinning or hook-like trajectories can correspond to objects like tuning pegs or C-bouts. The format also allows the listener to immerse themselves within the abstracted instrument.

It is an ode to the instrument, a microscopically focused appreciation of physical form and sonic potential.