clapping a sinewave 2016

a performance during which I clapped a binary/digital sinewave.

Clapping a sinewave was a performance during which the binary representation of a sinewave was clapped out and translated by computer software into an audible sound wave. The audience witnessed both the sound of the clapping and the live audio and visual rendering of a sinewave presented on an oscilloscope.

Presentation history
Algomech, Sheffield, November 2016 DIEM Elektro, Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium, Aarhaus, Denmark September 2017

I chose a sinewave as the basis of the piece as it is an archetypal analogue signal which can never be completely accurately represented by digital sampling because there will always be “a loss of information known as quantisation error” due to analogue to digital conversion.

Clapping a sinewave at Algomech, Sheffield, 2016

System design
I chose an 8-bit sinewave as one cycle had fifty samples and could be clapped in 4-5 minutes. The code to generate the wave form was developed following instruction from an example in The Audio Programming Book by Richard Boulanger and Richard Lazzarini. I wrote some software in SuperCollider to detect the onsets of a series of claps (ones) and silences as (zeros). This was done to a click track, where the first beat of every four pules was played as an audible click. At the end of each cycle of eight bits, SuperCollider produced the appropriate values and entered these into an audio buffer that was played back to the audience as sound.

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