Sphere on Spiral Stairs



I have been working the last few years on music defined by the social behaviors of ensemble groups. This began with birds grouped by species and mood. Vocalization densities were profiled within a behavior network of inter-species relationships. That work is discussed in Generative Ecologies and Audio Walks. Although a goal was for bird interactions to sound “natural”, the primary motivation was to create experiences both musically and dramatically interesting. Although the desire to sound “natural” suggested a behavioral approach, its larger motivation was to explore behavioral interactions with pitched instruments and other sonic palettes.


Cent-tet is a first attempt to explore a behavioral approach for creating a “living” music with instruments.


Cent-tet assembles a cast of musical actors expressed with 5-string electric violin. The work defines roughly 100 actor-temperament groups, voiced in roughly 500 musical phrases and variants. Composition is approached as cast list described with weighted distribution functions and behavior networks. The result is a stochastic and hopefully, natural emergence of both small-scale and larger-scale dramas.


The work’s custom software is event-oriented, affording real-time interaction from “live” performers.  This is done by adjusting individual group activity levels and sensitivities via OSC messaging. The software uses a 3D game development framework to support spatial animation decoupled from rendering to any specific speaker geometry. For Cent-tet, a special proxy object is used to interact with ensemble actors' through live analysis of performers' pitch register and density. Cent-tet is in this way an immersive piece for violin and behavioral violin ensembles.

Cent-tet draft excerpt binaural streams

These tracks  are early examples from a work underway for late Summer 2022.

Cent-tet draft excerpt Ambisonic downloads

Cent-tet is a spatial work. That is, all voices are positioned and animated in 3D space. This affords an immersive experience adaptable to any speaker geometry or spatial encoding technique. Here these drafts are encoded as 3rd order Ambisonic files for download. The files are compressed 16 channel (Ambix 3rd order) wav files.

Cent-tet 1 3rd order AmbiX download - 545MB compressed

Cent-tet 2 3rd order AmbiX download - 91MB compressed


Cent-tet experiment with birds 3rd order AmbiX download - 316MB compressed

Bill Parod