or an alive sound scape



Davy grégoire




The sciences and technologies enable us to simulate and think about the matter idea. Small things like proteins, particles or photons, wich are not animal nor vegetal nor mineral, but something between or both of them, exite our imagination. Because they represent the smallest things that constitute all configurations in the world, it might be exiting to evolving in a context supporting the fortuitous appearance of an event. So, as far as we can push the matter idea, the purpose consists here to play with a digital sound matter for build a scape where the musical phenomena stem from behaviorals things.

This paper briefly presents Bipmat as musical interface with a series of objects wich consitute the differents levels of the musical process. The first part describes a stable manner to build a composition while the last part presents autonomous behaviors where things agree according to their moods.









Bipmat is a musical interface using graphical elements as sound units. Little objects like particles and rings can be connected, controlled or left on their own way. Others one like ‘Black core’ or ‘Combo’ are used to articulate or swing musical topologies. Although we can't predict exactly what gona be happened, everythings following rules system based on space properties, linkable hierarchies, fortuitous meetings of things.

Consequently, user should evolving or be totally lost in something like a self-organisation system, where objects are modulate on differents levels. The interactivity with graphical objects bring us to make the musical relation between time and space, despite sometimes behaviors give strange distorsions that escape from our understanding. Anyway, there’s different manner of approching the interface :

1. User write and control all the musical process

2. User initialized some objects on the scene, then let them going on, according their mood.

3 User mix those possibilities

2. Objects




fig 1


Above we can see three levels of musical a construction. After generate some particles in space we can connect them to build a sequence wich became an object called Ring. Sequences can be also connected to each other as chain of rings, called Combo.

Those objects run in a hierarchical way and as each stage, structures of higher order and new functions appear, resulting from the interactions between the products of the preceding stage. In this manner each stage of a composition reveals the latent potentialities of the former levels. This approch point at the possibility to use musical interface as navigable partition [1] but in the same time, we know that is difficult to talk about music here. To give the possibility to create a musical architecture with 3D topologies might be not so easy to manipulate and it’s becoming much harder to think about the resulting structure if you introduce physical forces.


2.1 Particle

fig 2

A particle is a first object of a manipulation. As sound unit, it contains sound’s properties like envelop and granulation but many other ones like color, memory, spin, charge, activation mods...etc The schem below shows differents particle's states that can be combined together.




fig 3

Sound granulation is here one of the most interesting property. It is current technic used in sound synthesis and could be done in many differents ways. What we are  trying here is to fit sound modulation  in space motions. At the begining, user have to set a sound grain through anchors wich represent the loop points. The idea is to record a serie of grains before let them come up through behaviors.



fig 4

Above we have two anchors (A,C) defining the grain (B) of  sound’s particle.


2.2 Ring

Ring is for particles what protein is for amino acids, a functional structure. When particles are connected together they start to fold up on themselves before playing the sequence. Ring represents a simple sequence of notes, structured according space axis (vertical: tonalities, horizontal: rythm). Ring’s properties enable it to evolve in a linear or random way. Hazard is allways inclusive [2], depending of the quantity of informations stored in object.


fig 5


.Above we see a ring on activity. The ground circle allow user to drag, set the pitch range or the beat of the sequence.  In addition, particles like rings could be connected together.


2.3 Combo

The combo is the last level of a controlable composition. It is a simple connection between rings and its length define the lap of time before playing the next sequence.

fig 6




2.4 Black core

This object is not a sound unit, but it have the particularity to attract any particle crossing its area. This little bigger particle have a huge mass that make it quite stable. Like the core of an atom it make other particles looping and pitching arround its. When the particle velocity is to high, it’s get out of the back core’s field.


fig 7



2.5 Agrega


This is the ultimate and may be the most interesting behavior of Bipmat. User should not thinking to write or articulate any sequences but investigate space so as possible points of meeting. Because ours objects hide a little project, when user let particles  in their mood, they tend to be incorporated spontaneously. At this point, let says that particle is aware of the surrounding and it can choose a neighbor to meet. Consequently, a structure should merge from the fluctuations of the system. Here ‘musicals’ sequences appear like an unpredicable wave crossing some part of the structure. So this metastable sequence is continously redefined by new connections and inner reconfigurations (beat path).




fig 8






3. Interactions


Actually user should select an object before setting it with the mouse and the keyboard. This is a quite restrictive and we are looking on midi extensions...


4. Mapping


The sound system of Bipmat run like a simple sequencer. Sound’s effects are made by the Fluidsynth synthetiser [3]. Because what we see should be what we hear, effects like pitch, vibrato, chorus or sound granulation will depends on space motions  and object’s behaviors. In many cases the distance between objects and the altitude modulate the sound. At least sound’s effect are based on space properties and object’s memory.




This project have technicals limitations, behaviors and navigation must be optimized. But the sound system work and there’s enough possibility to see something emerging.







[1] R.Cahen Enigmes project ( 2006

[2] J.Monod,  Le hasard et la nécessité,  1970

[3] Fluidsynth , A.Schmitt ( )2006

[4] H.V.Lier, Les fomrations aminoïdes ( 2003