Artists have been working with surface transducers since they were first created. Building on this rich history, recent developments in both the development of computer technology and changes in the manufacture of transducers themselves have allowed a greater and more in-depth exploration. While many artists are working with these technologies, Matthew Goodheart has made to exploration of the interface and between resonant instruments and transduction a unique focus to his work. Working primarily at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at UC Berkeley and the Computer Music Center at Columbia University, he has developed a set of techniques for analyzing and recording the unique acoustic properties of individual instruments, such as gongs and cymbals, in order to provide a sonic and harmonic framework to create large-scale immersive compositions and sound installations. Using a variety of electroacoustic techniques, sounds initially drawn from the instruments are manipulated in a computer and sent back into the original instruments via transducers attached to their surfaces, causing to them to sound as if of their own accord – a “ghostly” effect. Using this method, each work can be tailored to the specific acoustical properties of the individual instruments which perform it – in short, all aspects of the work, from the sound world to the overall structure, emerge from the physical properties of the instruments which realize it.
This approach, termed “reembodied sound,” creates forms adaptive structure, where instruments can be spatialized around the audience and the works adapted to the acoustics of the space, creating a mix between sound installation and performance.