Last edited 14/12/2010 by Robby Regalbuto

Visual Sound Scope


My intention was to create a mapping program that could take a point in threespace and translate it into a sound. Unfortunately, efforts were only partially successful.

The Tools

The primary resource used was the Virtual Sound Server (VSS), a client-server system in which the client tells the server what sounds to make, and the server takes care of the rest. VSS ended up being an extremely useful tool not only because of its ease of use, but also because one of the primary creators of VSS was easily accessible, meaning we had access to an incredible wealth of knowledge about VSS and compilers, too. (Included at the bottom of the page are links that outline VSS in considerably more detail.)

The Project

The projects efforts were mostly focused on getting VSS to work on my computer, and this took the majority of the semester. As it so turns out, the problem was a bad Makefile, that is, the compiler wasn't working right for my C code. However, once that started working, the project progressed quite well, especially once the original documentation was found for VSS. At that point, I finally began to understand how VSS worked and how to work with it to create a sound with a client-controlled variable parameter and real-time updating. The next hurdle was to actually sonify a project, but this presented problems of its own. We were able to compile a three dimensional model of an icosahedron, and we could compile a working VSS project, but there were two separate compilers for each project respectively, that is, we could compile the visuals, and we could compile the audio, but we couldn't compile a project that had both components. The Makefiles simply didn't cooperate, so we left the project as is, and perhaps sometime in the near future, we'll work that problem out.

The Results

Here's what we got-

AUD file:

C file:


Here's an extremely useful tutorial for how to use VSS.

Here's another useful tutorial for how to use VSS.

Here's the documentation for the VSS actors.

Here's an interesting explanation of how a Fourier transform works.

Here's a nifty application of the principles of sound decomposition using a piano.