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Abstract: In the last century, musical composition has been largely inspired by processes that, at first, don't seem to be related with music. These processes, from Schoenberg' serialism to Xenakis' statistics or Cage's chance music, explore new strategies of sound (or note) organisation. In the recent past, the digitalization of sound combined with the power of computers has enabled the processing of sounds at the sample level, a level of granularity below milliseconds. Technologies have also made it possible to create new interrelationships between sound and the visual modality. This talk will explore the reverse process: visually-driven strategies of composition. I will describe a commission from the National Portrait Gallery in London in which I produced a sonified portrait. The image is treated as a map of constraints for a multi layer approach. The values extracted from the still image organise the overall form of the sound and also control sound effects such as granular synthesis and frequency filtering. I will go on to present a recent piece based on the sonification of animated images. The work, which draws on the idea of music processes, investigates the similarities between films articulations and musical articulations, and whether a visual art could be transposed into music.
BIO: Jean-Baptiste Thiebaut has a MS in Computer Science from University of Toulouse II and a MA in Composition from the University of Paris VIII. He is actually doing a PhD in Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London, on the topic of music visualisation and representation. He has been collaborating with the Groupe de Recherches Musicale (GRM) and the Centre de recherches Informatique et Creation Musicale in Paris. His past research focused on the representation of sound in space. He also composes electroacoustic and instrumental music and does live performance with a laptop within the band pplato. Recent artistic works have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London.