The Sound of Touch

April 28, 2007


David Merrill, Hayes Raffle


In this paper we describe the Sound of Touch, a new instrument for real-time capture and sensitive physical stimulation of sound samples using digital convolution. Our hand-held wand can be used to (1) record sound, then (2) playback the recording by brushing, scraping, striking or otherwise physically manipulating the wand against physical objects. During playback, the recorded sound is continuously filtered by the acoustic interaction of the wand and the material being touched. Our texture kit allows for convenient acoustic exploration of a range of materials.An acoustic instrument.s resonance is typically determined by the materials from which it is built. With the Sound of Touch, resonant materials can be chosen during the performance itself, allowing performers to shape the acoustics of digital sounds by leveraging their intuitions for the acoustics of physical objects. The Sound of Touch permits real-time exploitation of the sonic properties of a physical environment, to achieve a rich and expressive control of digital sound that is not typically possible in electronic sound synthesis and control systems.

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