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Category archive for: cooking with sound

cws / final update 03


after a good time spent on the internet attempting to understand how the communication between arduino and puredata works through firmata library + pduino, i was able to find a much much simpler way to make the communication between both programs (yes!!). the arduino gets the sensor values and the puredata patch receives those values and using the split object, it can detect each of the values according to it own range. it did communicate well and do what i intend to do BUT it seems that there’s some interference between the sensors (if i change one of them, all of the other parameters change as well).


int val1;
int val2;
int val3;

void setup() {
  pinMode(A1, INPUT);
  pinMode(A0, INPUT);
  pinMode(8, INPUT);
void loop() {
  val1 = analogRead(A0);
  val2 = analogRead(A1);
  val3 = digitalRead(8);

  val1 = map(val1, 0, 1023, 20, 50);
  val2 = map(val2, 0, 1023, 5, -1);





and another good progress was the enclosure/final format of the final. it’s still needs some final tweaks but basically is this big black box below. since i want to talk about how sound can be a matter can create some kind of disorientation, i decided that this experience shouldn’t have any kind of orientation – just the sensor over there, ready to be fooled around according to the user’s will.


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cws / final update 02

quick update over the final: i reflected about what to do with the idea of disorientation and i feel that the idea is to create a experience in which the user leads to its own disorientation by controling the frequencies, as well as the phase shifting difference and the “direction” of the frequencies (which goes to each channel). to make it more individual but also comfortable, i decided to create this object without labels for the switches, and to use it the pillow invites the user to sit there in a comfortable position.


the next step is to connect the puredata batch with arduino (through firmata library). i’ll post when i have news about it!

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cws / final update

this week i was able to progress on my final! I got the simple patch I had done on Puredata that i’ve posted here last week and connected it to two speakers, to see how it would work spatially speaking. when i’ve put the speakers to work i didn’t have the situation i expected. the frequencies were everywhere and because they were not exactly close from the user, they didn’t cause the desired effect. even though what i had in mind in the beginning is to work with a physical installation that occupies a big space,  i decided to work in a more personal scale: the piece will work with headphones.

after doing that first version of the patch and developing over the concept of disorientation, i decided i wanted to develop further the code on pd in a way that the user will have power over the experience – but in a disoriented/blind manner.With the help of Aaron , one of my ITP fellows, i was able to make the Puredata code much more controable for the user. There’s a slider to control the frequency as well as a switch to control to change the frequency that is emitted in each of the channels.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 11.02.05 PM

when i put people to listen to it, there were some diverging experiences: while some people could definitely feel out of balance, other could feel anything at all (or feel the phase shifting effect). i think that it will be valid for the experience to orient people to wait for a while until disorientation (i’ve realised that the ones who couldn’t feel anything didn’t stay long with the headphones). next steps: connecting puredata with arduino as well as keep on thinking what can make the experience more vivid and comfortable.

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cws / week 10 – sample composition + final progress

ahoy! for this weeks’ assignment we should work with some prerecorded sounds of an object we would like to record (forgot to post about it, sorry!!). my object was my bike, more specifically the bike in movement – which was interesting to record (a lot of effort on techniques to record it without putting the zoom recorder at risk and/or putting it in a way that it would get as less noise as it could).

i did several recordings of my way home > itp and vice-versa. they are all long recordings, which after hearing them over and over i felt that the moment that translated better for me what it is to bike are the most silent moments (fyi specially at night at the cross between bedford ave and clymer st). becausing biking around for me is the moment where i end up reflecting a lot about everything. so the silence for me seems to be the moment that i can truly be focused on what biking is to me.

so i took a look at the spectrum of one of the recordings on audition, to see which was the quietest part of it / has less frequencies.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 6.55.46 PM

i exported that part (the darker area on the image) and used my wish of making it last longer as the main purpose of my composition. using audacity, i felt a bit overwelmed and couldn’t figure out the difference between with or without effects, but i was able to work with equalization and making the sound longer. it became this weird out of space metalice sound, which i really liked because it sounds a bit like a meditation sound that helps you to focus. you can check the original and the composition version here:


[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]



Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 11.05.37 PM

worked on the pure data patch working, but i’m thinking of making it more controllable by the user. talking with ted today to see what he thinks about it!


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cws / synthesizer + final proposal

This week’s assignment was to build the simplest synthesizer with a CMOS Schimtt – Trigger chip. At first I had some difficulties to find the materials ( we don’t have the suggested chips at the shop), but Alizia was kind to give me one =)


The book was pretty clear on how you should put it up, although I ended up not using the amplifier on the circuit – just plugged in directly to the speakers. It worked and then I decided to try a different kind of resistor to create variations of the frequency played. I started testing with thread, to see if it was possible to make a “performatic” synth, in which the frequencies vary while I sew with conductive thread. So I tided  piece o conductive thread on a conductive wire between the capactiro and the chip and stiched it on a fabric (tighten on a loop) . I tied another piece on the resistor (when there was no resistor it wouldn’t make any sound) and put the needle on it. When I started sewing / crossing the conductive threads, they would make the sound stop – which I didn’t understand exactly but I also saw that when I had my finger on both threads, then it would vary the frequency – messing a little with the conductive thread that was connected to the capacitor was what made the signal change.

So I also got some conductive fabric and saw that the frequency variability would vary with the pressure/how many fingers I had on and if I put a velostat between the two pieces of conductive thread. The result you’ll see on the video bellow. The sounds are really weird and following the book’s advise : if it sounds good and you don’t understand why, don’t worry and move on.

My final project will be a more developed/finalized version of the midterm. Playing with the idea of disorientation, it will be a sound installation in which the public is invited to stand between two sound sources that are emitting sine waves that phase shift each other. When two frequencies are slightly different one from the other, they give the sensation of being out of balance because it affects the inner ear, essencial part of the body that “captures” the movement direction (up/down,left/right,tilt). After the experience of the midterm I’ve realized that to have the effect as precise as possible, I have to use a different sound source, fix them in some way that whoever is in between them they can be affected by both sign waves.

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cws / midterm

cws-midterm_001For the midterm acoustic experiment I decided to make a sound installation that uses phase shifting to affect the spacial perception of the user. It consists on two sound sources that emit some kind of rhythmic sounds and their rhythm are slightly of one another.

I decided to use brass bells because of the resonance they have created the effect of phase shifting. Combining a little bit of what we learned at p-comp, I programmed two servo motors to dictate the pace, making the wooden cylinders hit delicately on the brass – in a way that people would stand being in between both.

I started prototyping the structure with cardboard, to see how the motor + wood + bell would work in a way that could be hanging from the ceiling. The laser cutter for sure was of great help and after I got the “enclosure” right, I did some final tweaks on the assemblage, specifically on the pace of each of the sound sources.

Then, when I got both objects assemble that I’ve realized a big problem over this installation: the servo motors were too close from the bells (and therefore the ears) and created a distinguished noise that was overlapping the resonance made with the hit.

Due to my limitations/lack of knowledge over prototyping, I believe this project can still go on as be my final project. I think there were some great points in this midterms: using non-digital oscillators to create a manipulated sound effect, being able to imagine a final enclosure to it and testing what I’ve imagined to see that it kind of work. I feel that I want this project to evolute to feel more like an installation, to think better about materials, sound sources and assemblage.

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cws / week05 – (finally) building a microphone

so this week’s assingment was to build a microphone. if you look at the videos and tutorials around the web it seems pretty easy, but it actually required a lot of testing to make sure that it is working. I decided I wanted to make a small microphone and therefore I got small ceramic magnets and found the rest of the material’s on the shop (although this made me think that I might haven’t got the exact materials/thought it might not make the mic work).

My first prototype was this one:


After putting all the components together, I connected it to the oscilloscope and it didn’t get any vibrance from the microphone. I had some help from one of my colleagues, who gave me some useful tipis such as: the coil can’t go crazy around the straw, the straw has to be fixed to the top surface (they were loose one from the other) and the magnet part had to be stable.

So I did a second version, trying to make a bigger area of contact (connected through tape) and to stabilize the lower part. The problem was that because of the eletric magnet field / magnets attraction the needle wouldn’t be centered the way I wanted to. Also, this one did not work:



And then I did my third and last shot – that worked!! I redid the coil wrap around the straw, I glued the needle + washer structure on the bottom of the cup and glued the straw to the plastic film. This worked! I was very glad/relieved/proud that I saw some vibrance variation on the oscilloscope (although I don’t get why the signwave is increasing, instead of ending on the same level as the beggining of it). Here’s a picture and some videos:


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cws / week 02

Last week of cooking with sound we started playing around with Pure Data. Although a lot of what we learned was a bit technical and abstract for me, I was able to understand some of the mechanisms as well as learn some sound/music vocabulary. Our homework was to create a sound generating patch, just to start getting use with the software. I decided I want to do a patch working with three structures inside it: one that had the “white noise” of the composing and another two that would correspond for each of the speaker’s channels.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.26.19 AMIn each one of those, I’d put to randomly change the frequency and this caused an interesting effect of movement between the speakers. I’ve realized also that the effect would be more perceptive if the sound wave were almost on the same frequency (creating a kind of a sound moiré effect); I looked for some library/patches references that I could define the random range, but I think there’s some parts that I still don’t know how to put together and then it didn’t work. But this is definitely something I’d like to work with.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]

And for the midterm Acoustic Experiment I’m interested in playing with the spacial perception of sound / how it has an effect over our balance. The idea is to create an instrument that gives unexpected impressions over sound source (where it comes from) or how it affect us (makes you dizzy or vibrate etc).

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cws / week01

Creating an one string instrument was this week assignment for cooking with sound. Having not a lot of familiarity with material properties and sound, last class we were introduced to some of the physical aspects of sound – and materials. Having that in mind, I decided that I wanted to build a flexible instrument, in which with could adapt the tension and the length of the string with your movement.

At first I thought about using musical material such as a violin cord, but it had not the malleability I was looking for the material and some material that could reverb the sound. What worked for me in this case was trying different strings with different materials. I started with a rubber string, with gave me the flexibility that I wanted but was too weak and broke easily. I remembered that I had a silicone string with a good length to be moved and tensioned in different distances. It worked well and surprisingly, two open cylinder cardboard were kind of efficient as an amplifier (wondering if the silicone don’t actually work as oscillator and amplifier).


For me, experimenting different materials combinations was the best way to find out whether they would oscillate/resonate or if they didn’t do neither of those things. It was a nice exercise, can’t wait to see what will come next! And here’s a video that shows what kind of sound the instrument does, according to the movement/tension I did on the string:

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