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Composing for the Physical Model of the Maraca

Juan Reyes
Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA)
Stanford University
juanig@ccrma.stanford.edu

Abstract

The Physical Model of the Maraca is a flexible algorithm for generating interesting timbres out of the percussion family of instruments. It is also suitable for achieving musical expression in digital synthesis of a sound. A piece called Wadi Musa (or The Monteria Hat) was composed using direct digital synthesis from the physical model of the maraca in the Common Lisp Music (clm) environment. The original physical model was developed by Perry Cook as part of his PhISM approach for computer simulations of percussion instruments. The clm version is a direct transcription of the STK algorithm done by Bill Schottstaedt. This paper is a description of parameters and algorithms which are used in order to achieve interesting musical structures in a composition for which the maracas is the underlying musical element in a piece for tape and live instruments. Performance modeling follows research done by Perry Cook, Brad Garton, Chris Chafe and others (circa 1995). Although physical models have not proved to be appealing to composers because of their nature of imitating real world phenomena, in this case the model of the maracas proved to be a great tool for achieving a variety of creative goals in pursuing a new music composition. Basic parameters such as note duration and dynamic range produce a wide range of material and perhaps a new aesthetic in the perception of computer generated music.






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