Topographic Soundscapes

May 2014

  • Audio synthesis
  • Materials
  • Ableton Live

In collaboration with Bethany Snyder and Peter Kuhberg at CIID

How do materials affect sound? What would a landscape sound like? In this two day exploration we investigated the concept of a landscape as a series of sounds, and how the different material qualities of paper could be related to sound in a topographical context.

We built a contour model composed of valleys, peaks, and meadows using three types of paper and an MDF board. Each layer of materials was fitted with a contact microphone. When a user interacts with a layer, the resulting vibrations are picked up and augmented with effects to dramatize the sound.

In addition to learning more about sound manipulation, we discovered new ways to perceive paper as an instrument and how to shape common materials to explore different sonic possibilities.