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Ryan Raffa (designer)
Scott Pobiner (thesis advisor)
Louisa Campbell (thesis advisor)
Katherine Moriwaki (thesis advisor)
Andrew Zornoza (thesis advisor)




Originating as an investigation into the relationships between rhythm and technology, RhythmSynthesis uses color, shape, and sound to demonstrate how our understanding of visual music, computation, and tangible, audio-visual interactions can be applied as considerations in musical compositions. As an electronic musical instrument, the piece allows for experimentation, rewards for mastery, and is a vehicle for expression.

This paper outlines the RhythmSynthesis Thesis project, as completed by Ryan Raffa, a Master’s Candidate in the program of Design and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design, 2011.

By asking questions about how visual music can be used to perceive rhythm, what ways visual rhythms can be used for composition, and what ways composition can be intertwined with performance and experimental notation, this thesis illustrates that sound is a reliable and effective way to provide users feedback for making visual composition decisions, judgements, and actions. From amateur to professional musicians, the instrument allowed for unique, personal interactions and expressive choice.



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