Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Worldlets: Generative Studies for the Monome Norns
Nathan Koch
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Parsons School of Design
Thesis Supervisor
Jess Irish
Supervisor e-mail
irishj AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Danielle Jackson
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Design and Technology
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
generative, procedural, sound design, synthesis, monome, simulation, electronic music
Abstract: 200-500 words
Nathan Koch's Worldlets are a series of generative studies for the Monome Norns, a portable sound computer. Navigating a space between musical instrument, sound art, and mathematical simulation, each worldlet is part emergent "music box" and part compositional tool. Left alone, each study manifests as generative music, its qualities shaped by the rules and systems of its host worldlet. Initial rulesets and properties populate a world, letting it play out not as a game or animation, but as electronic music. Each worldlet manifests a particular aspect of emergent behavior through simulation, from the marching ants of "Langton's Ant" to particles, physics, and autonomous agents. The same rules and parameters that drive each worldlet allow Koch to demonstrate how a systems approach aids music composition and performance. Musicians and composers can use these worldlets to explore the enormous timbral and parametrical complexity of digital sound techniques (such as additive or granular synthesis) in novel and intuitive ways, through the tools of physical simulation rather than parametric sound synthesis. By executing Worldlets on the Monome Norns, a stripped down audio computer, Koch moves the emphasis away from screen-based aesthetics to communicating the underlying systems. In a sense, Worldlets are the sonification of their underlying algorithms.