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Seminar: Exploring Modularity in Physics-Based Audio Synthesis - Prof Michele Ducceschi

This presentation delves into the application of modularity in physical modelling sound synthesis, tracing its evolution from early implementations, such as the mass-spring paradigm, to contemporary innovations.

March 13, 2024
Multi Media Room, SARC
13:00 - 14:00

Exploring Modularity in Physics-Based Audio Synthesis: The Modus Synthesizer. The analysis focuses on the intrinsic relationship between modular design principles and the foundational concepts of Hamiltonian dynamics. This initial exploration lays the groundwork for understanding the dynamic interplay and energy transfer inherent in modular systems, mirroring the behaviour observed in physical systems.

For intricate networks featuring multiple interconnected distributed objects like strings, bars, membranes, and plates, modal approaches emerge as viable techniques for achieving flexible and scalable modular architectures. In the modal framework, musically relevant design parameters, such as resonant frequencies and frequency-dependent decay times, are exposed and easily modulable, rendering modal methods particularly attractive for physics-based synthesis. These principles form the core foundation of Modus, a real-time synthesizer displaying extensive synthesis capabilities. The modular design of Modus allows for the creation of complex networks with various interconnected distributed objects. 

The talk will conclude with a series of demonstrations and sound examples showcasing the capabilities and versatility of the Modus synthesizer.

Michele Ducceschi is an Associate Professor at the University of Bologna, Italy, serving as the Principal Investigator for the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant NEMUS. This is a 5-year project aiming at synthesizing the sound of historical harpsichords that are currently out of playing condition. Previously, a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2017) at the Acoustics and Audio Group at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and a Royal Society Newton Fellow (2015) and part of the ERC-funded NESS project led by Prof. Stefan Bilbao. 

Michele Ducceschi's  research sits at the intersection of music, physics, applied mathematics, computer science and engineering. It focuses on the simulation of nonlinear oscillations for sound synthesis via physics-based modelling. This requires a balance between accuracy, efficiency, and the overarching problem of stability. Research is currently exploring non-iterative conservative schemes in the context of nonlinear dynamical systems. Michele Ducceschi is also a co-founder of Physical Audio Instruments.


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