CENG/ELEC/SENG 499 Music Projects

Supervisor: Peter Driessen, peter@ece.uvic.ca

PD7 Piano tuning archaeology

Discover how pianos were tuned for recordings both old and new. 

Pianos are tuned using the equal temperament system in which there are 12 equally spaced notes per octave, and the ratio of frequencies between adjacent notes is the 12th root of 2. In practice, when a real piano is tuned, the high notes are tuned somewhat sharp (higher in frequency) than would be predicted from equal temperament tuning. The project is to develop software that displays the tuning curve, i.e. the deviation from equal temperament for all 88 notes of the piano keyboard.  This software running on a laptop will be very useful for piano tuners who may want to tune to particular curves.  It could also be used to perform Piano Tuning Archeology, where it listens to an old piano recording and determines the piano tuning that was used. The challenge is to use digital signal processing techniques to accurately measure the frequency of each note played, especially when multiple notes are played together. The software will be tested by a professional piano tuner who tunes the pianos for the UVic School of Music.

PD8 Spinning Sound Source (SSS) 

Rotating speaker systems such as the Leslie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_speaker) have been used since the early 1940s to create interesting sounds effects with instruments, in particular, Hammond organs.  The aim of this project is to develop a sound system involving a pair(s) of small high powered speakers that can be rotated flexibly in space and driven from musical instruments or other sources.  The rotational speed, and position in space extends the range of sounds that can be achieved by an instrument while providing an interesting visual appearance for live performance.  This appears could also be further enhanced with integrated lighting in the rotating speakers. Power and signals to the speakers could be delivered over a rotary transformer to for maximum flexibility and robustness.

PD9 Audio with Kinect 

One of the most untapped features of the Microsoft Kinect unit is the advanced in audio processing as a result of the inclusion of a four-element microphone array and sophisticated acoustic noise and echo cancellation processing.  It can also perform sound source localization using beam forming, which enables the determination of a sound’s spatial location, enhancing reliability when integrated with the speech recognition.  However, the microphones are not well placed in the Kinect for general use but since they connect via a single cable, in principle an external connection could be made to a custom four-element microphone array. This project involves investigating the microphone-array processing of the Kinect and finding interesting ways it can be used in applications, for example to measure the 3D impulse response of a room, record audio in 4-channel surround and more.

PD10  Omnidirectional dodecahedron loudspeaker

This project is to complete the construction of a omnidirectional speaker with 12 drivers and
a 12 channel power amplifier.

Radio Drum

This project involves developing and testing a design for a new 3-dimensional controller that uses low-frequency radio signals to enable a computer to track a musical performer's motions of two mallets as he moves them in 3-dimensional space. A computer program then interprets the trajectories of the mallets to perform whatever function the musician has programmed. The Drum consists of two parts: a rectangular surface ("drum") with embedded antennas and two transmitters embedded in conventional sticks ("mallets"). More details may be found at http://www.ece.uvic.ca/~peter/radiodrum.html There are 3 radio drum projects:

PD1 Analog Signal processing for radio drum

The signals from the interface are analog; there are a total of 8 signals (4 for each stick). A standard audio interface card will be used to capture data from the drum but because audio interfaces do not go down to DC, it will be necessary to amplitude modulate the signal using the ELEC 350 chopper modulator before it is sampled and digitized. The project is to design, build and test the analog modulator and filters.

PD2 Digital signal processing for radio drum

The 8 channels of sampled data need to be demodulated in software and then used to calculate the time-varying position of the two mallets. The project is to design and implement the necessary algorithms in C. The software will also need to detect the time instants when the mallets hit the playing surface and resolve very fine percussionistic motions such as rolls, bounces, and flams.

PD3 Radio drum pad and wireless stick design

The radio tracking technique depends on the electric capacitance between the radio transmission antenna in the end of each mallet and the array of receiving antennas in the drum. The wireless stick prototype transmitters constructed as a previous 499-project need to be refined, and the receiver antennas and circuitry needs to be designed, built and tested.

PD4 MIDI Interface

Many older and acoustic keyboard instruments do not have a MIDI interface and thus cannot be used to control other synthesizers. This project will involve the design of a keyboard scanner/MIDI interface to convert note events on the keyboard to MIDI data.

PD6 MP3 audio coding

This project is to adapt MP3 audio for streaming in real time over the internet. When the network is congested and packets arrive too late to be played back in real time, there will be gaps in the received audio, which will degrade the audio quality. The problem is to find and implement 'error concealment' algorithms to fill these gaps so that their effect on the perceived audio quality is minimized. The project will include reviewing other streaming audio technologies such as RealAudio, learning how MP3 works, and using MP3 source code from http://www.mpeg.org/MPEG/mp3.html