Strategies for the Creation of Spatial Audio in Electroacoustic Music
This paper discusses technical and conceptual approaches to incorporate 3D spatial movement in electroacoustic music. The Ambisonic spatial audio format attempts to recreate a full sound field (with height information) and is currently a popular choice for 3D spatialization. While tools for Ambisonics are typically designed for the 2D computer screen and keyboard/mouse, virtual reality offers new opportunities to work with spatial audio in a 3D computer generated environment. An overview of my custom virtual reality software, VRSoMa, demonstrates new possibilities for the design of 3D audio. Created in the Unity video game engine for use with the HTC Vive virtual reality system, VRSoMa utilizes the Google Resonance SDK for spatialization. The software gives users the ability to control the spatial movement of sound objects by manual positioning, a waypoint system, animation triggering, or through gravity simulations. Performances can be rendered into an Ambisonic file for use in digital audio workstations. My work Discords (2018) for 3D audio facilitates discussion of the conceptual and technical aspects of spatial audio for use in musical composition. This includes consideration of human spatial hearing, technical tools, spatial allusion/illusion, and blending virtual/real spaces. The concept of spatial gestures has been used to categorize the various uses of spatial motion within a musical composition.