This project dealt with the design issues that arise when reconstructing a musical instrument. It was realized at the IEM under the supervision of Winfried Ritsch. The project focusses on the design of functional and qualitative replication using electronic means. We call that a Simulacrum. This means the design has to rebuild the instrument in a way the result is the same. Input interface, sound quality and radiation properties have to be investigated on and a creative approach for a new design has to be chosen.
The specific requirements of certain works of contemporary music history are sometimes hard to meet when it comes to the performance. Special instruments or tech- nologies are necessary and often no longer available or their documentation is insufficient. This paper addresses this problem of performance practice in contemporary music by presenting the design of an electronic replication of a mechanical instrument for the performance of the piece “Mouvement – vor der Erstarrung” by Helmut Lachenmann. The simulacra developed consist of a musical interface, a software for sound synthesis and a loudspeaker system for the projection of the sound into space. A focus is put on the challenge of synthesising the sound as close as possible to the original using physical modelling and the acoustic integration of an electronic instrument into an ensemble of acoustic instruments. The prototypes developed were proven to be robust and reliable and the simulacra were generally well-received by musicians, conductor and audience.
F. Kaiser, M. Weger, W. Ritsch, “Designing simulacra or the electronic replica- tion of a mechanical instrument”, 9th Sound and Music Computing Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, July 2012. [pdf] [slides]