Design and Evaluation of a Digital Theatre Wind Machine

Keenan, Fiona and Pauletto, Sandra

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper presents the next stage of an investigation into the potential of historical theatre sound effects as a resource for Sonic Interaction Design (SID). An acoustic theatre wind machine was constructed, and a digital physical modelling-based version of this specific machine was programmed using the Sound Designer’s Toolkit (SDT) in Max/MSP. The acoustic wind machine was fitted with 3D printed gearing to mechanically drive an optical encoder and control the digital synthesis engine in real time. The design of this system was informed by an initial comparison between the acoustic wind machine and the first iteration of its digital counterpart. To explore the main acoustic parameters and the sonic range of the acoustic and digital wind machines in operation, three simple and distinct rotational gestures were performed, with the resulting sounds recorded simultaneously, facilitating an analysis of the real-time performance of both sources. The results are reported, with an outline of future work.