James Madison University

Novel Software Tools for Research and Musical Applications

This project began with an interest in gradually developing devices to help address common stimulus needs for our auditory perception laboratory’s research studies, along with some developed curricular experiences for students involving tone synthesis. It was soon realized that many of the synthesis tools and principles being developed would be of interest to both auditory researchers and electronically-based musicians. The project has grown to a family of devices under development, and some of these are now being made available. We also have been working collaboratively with researchers from other laboratories to help deliver devices that meet their research needs.

The proposal to distribute software from this project has been recognized by a university-wide Intellectual Property Disclosure Incentive Program award. Read More

FormAnt (M.D. Hall & T. Redpath, 2016)
A 3-oscillator+noise, formant-based, monophonic, subtractive synthesizer for the Max for Live platform that can effectively be used for both stimulus generation in psychoacoustic research and musical performance. Read More

Screen Capture
Screenshots of devices in the FormAnt device bundle. Click to zoom.
Screen Capture
Click to zoom.
Screen Capture
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Rampon'n'off (M.D. Hall, 2017)
An audio device for Max for Live that can impose a complex, individually designed amplitude envelope on any incoming material, and also includes pattern sequencing and speed/sync options. Read More

Screen Capture
Screenshot of Rampon'n'off user interface. Click to zoom.

Hardware: Acoustic Filter Designs for Musical Instruments

Following from the laboratory’s ongoing interests in software development to evaluate the contributions of vibrational sources and filter resonances to event perception (e.g., see above), we recognized that it also should be possible to realize a corresponding set of acoustic band-pass filters that, unlike traditional approaches, mechanically accomplish dynamic changes in filter settings. This ongoing work is being done collaboratively with JMU’s Tom Wilcox, who is helping to realize designs (e.g., as CAD drawings), as well as generate functional prototypes through 3-D printing and working by hand with other equipment and materials. The resulting products are expected to be of interest to not only educators in audition and sound, but also to musicians once the filters are integrated within acoustic musical instruments.

A proposal reflecting a range of initial hardware filter designs was recognized by a university-wide Intellectual Property Disclosure Incentive Program award. Read More