Conference paper Open Access

Indeterminate Sample Sequencing in Virtual Reality

Mitchusson, Chase

Michon, Romain; Schroeder, Franziska

The purpose of this project is to develop an interface for writing and performing music using sequencers in virtual reality (VR). The VR sequencer deals with chance-based operations to select audio clips for playback and spatial orientation-based rhythm and melody generation, while incorporating three-dimensional (3-D) objects as omnidirectional playheads. Spheres which grow from a variable minimum size to a variable maximum size at a variable speed, constantly looping, represent the passage of time in this VR sequencer. The 3-D assets which represent samples are actually sample containers that come in six common dice shapes. As the dice come into contact with a sphere, their samples are triggered to play. This behavior mimics digital audio workstation (DAW) playheads reading MIDI left-to-right in popular professional and consumer software sequencers. To incorporate height into VR music making, the VR sequencer is capable of generating terrain at the press of a button. Each terrain will gradually change, creating the possibility for the dice to roll on their own. Audio effects are built in to each scene and mapped to terrain parameters, creating another opportunity for chance operations in the music making process. The chance-based sample selection, spatial orientation-defined rhythms, and variable terrain mapped to audio effects lead to indeterminacy in performance and replication of a single piece of music. This project aims to give the gaming community access to experimental music making by means of consumer virtual reality hardware.
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