I seek out data and formula that describe natural systems and phenomena in order to ground my work with technology in corporeal reality. An improvised score between contrabass and live electronics, Sturmian Word utilizes mathematical models of coupled oscillators, and the interplay between two people with years of shared performance practice, to explore synchronization.


The Kuramoto model is a mathematical model that simulates the behavior of large groups of coupled oscillators. In nature coupled oscillations can be observed in the synchronization of fireflies, ambulatory mechanisms of animals, and the firing of synapses in the brain. In this piece the algorithm is implemented across two dimensions in localized kernels, and also between the planes of a 16x16x6 dimension matrix (visualized as the six columns in the video projection). The video is then used to trigger synth, samples, and to read from a buffer of the last 1.5 minutes of the live performer. The synthesis algorithm involves taking the difference between the current sample and a previous one, multiplying by a large constant, and accumulating the result. This algorithm was applied to the sum of 32 sinusoids triggered by two columns of the video. Made in Max/MSP



February 25, 2020

3rd Annual Bezanson Legacy Concert

Bezanson Recital Hall

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Created by transcoding/sonifying a data set of the energy distribution of rock schist under slow compression. Composed for the Sounds of Matter: Call4Sounds competition (www.matter.soundsof.net/ferroic).

This music is inspired by the poetic nature in which Ferroic materials break. The semi-crystalline structure of Ferroic materials and their mathematically predictable, and subsequently functional, structural failures, find strong corollaries with music’s use of semi-symmetric pitch and rhythmic entities to create patterns of tension and release. Beyond this larger formal homology, all of the sounds in the piece were created by sonifying a data set of the energy distribution over time of a slow compression experiment on schist. With the data stored as a normalized audio buffer, I created pitched, percussive, and ambient sounds by taking the sine of data values accumulated at audio sampling rate. Ultimately, I leveraged the data to produce the overtone series of several low frequencies. Given the fractal nature of the data, this resulted in repeated melodic structures, such as the descending ½-step, descending fifth, ascending whole-step motif heard in the second section. Subsequent wave shaping, variable playback rates, and frequency modulation were used to create different timbres. The power-law distribution of the data was particularly suitable for creating the crashing/rending sounds heard in the first section. The data was also transcoded into spectral information and used to drive a subtractive synthesis process.

Although my main concerns and objectives for this music were artistic and aesthetic, I hope this music will also aid in the researcher’s goals of understanding the dynamics of domain walls in Ferroic materials and the mechanisms that lead to their functionality.


EP of ambient music made using my webcam as the input/instrument.

EP of ambient music made using my webcam as the input/instrument.

Up With the Lark (2016) - Barbie Diewald

Cave for Solo Double Bass, Interactive Electronics, and Video (2013)