Interacting with a virtual conductor

Bos, Pieter (2006) Interacting with a virtual conductor.

Abstract:The task of conducting human musicians in a live performance by a computer has not yet been addressed extensively before. A few attempts exist at letting a computer perform this task, but there is no interactive virtual conductor who can conduct human musicians and can interact with these musicians. The virtual conductor described in this report can conduct human musicians in a live performance interactively. The conductor can conduct 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-beat patterns. Tempo changes can be indicated in such a way that musicians can follow the change. Dynamics are supported by changing the amplitude of the conducting gestures, so that music that should be loud will make the conductor conduct bigger and music that should be played softly will be conducted smaller. These signals to musicians all are given before the actual change occurs, so that musicians are prepared that the tempo or dynamics will change. Accents are indicated by conducting the preparation of a beat bigger. The conductor listens to the musicians as they play to follow their performance. He can track the beat of the musicians with a beat-tracker and can read along with the score as musicians play. For future reactions of the conductor, a chord detector has been designed and implemented, to allow the future conductor to detect wrong notes. This information is used to interact with the musicians: if the musicians start playing slower or faster when they should not be, the conductor will notice this and try to correct this. First, the conductor will follow the musicians so they do not lose track, then the conductor will lead the musicians back to the original tempo. The conductor has been evaluated several times with groups of human musicians. The musicians could follow the tempo and dynamic changes of the conductor reasonably well. The conductor could interact succesfully with the musicians, correcting their tempo if they played too fast or to slow. The musicians enjoyed playing with the virtual conductor and could see uses for it, especially if the conductor is further extended. Concluded can be that a virtual conductor has been designed and implemented that can interact with musicians in a live music performance. This conductor is only a basic version of a conductor and can be extended in almost all aspects. So, while a basic version exists, this is still a lot left for future research on this subject. Potential applications of the future and current virtual conductor are for example a rehearsal conductor for when a human conductor is not available or as a conductor for when studying orchestral parts at home together with a recording or MIDI-version of the rest of the orchestra, including a condu.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Computer Science MSc (60300)
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