SPEAKING IN TONGUES is a recent electro-acoustic work by composer/sound artist John Driscoll, for both performance and sound installation.  It uses a series of evolving custom-built ultrasonic instruments that can be manipulated (played) in various ways.  These instruments are created using ultrasonic feedback which is disturbed by small amounts of physical movement.  Each instrument creates one or two ultrasonic feedback fields in either the 25khz or 40khz range.  These ultrasonic feedback tones are modulated into the audio range. (see Fig. 1)

Fig. 1   Ultrasonic Instruments - Generalized Diagram


They are controlled in various ways using foil reflectors with a series of arduino-controlled servo motors under both manual and automated control (using a LEAP 3D controller, slow rotation dc motor, blowing on a spring mounted foil, and a Wii Nunchuck.  They use a combination of custom Max/MSP and Arduino software for controlling speed, direction, and patterns. (See Figs. 2, 3)

Fig. 2                                                    SLow Motor Foil                 

Fig. 3     X/Y Servos                               Animated Foil                          Spring Mounted Foil

The outputs of these instruments are digitally processed through impulse responses from unique resonant loudspeakers imparting a novel harmonic transformation of the original signals from the instruments.

This work has evolved from an interest in the use of resonance in acoustical spaces from the architectural to the microscopic.  Each instrument has a distinct voice and character due to their design and the unique acoustical properties of the impulse responses.

The work was premiered at Experimental Intermedia Foundation with performers: John Driscoll, Phil Edelstein, and Tom Hamilton of Composers Inside Electronics.

                                                                                                 Photo: Robert L. Pepper

A video of a performance of “Speaking in Tongues” with John Driscoll, Phil Edelstein, and Robert L. Pepper is available at:  http://vimeo.com/39731645

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© 2011/2012 John Driscoll