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Investigations in guitar signal processing: 'folding' and its outcomes in composition and performance

posted on 16.02.2017, 05:28 by Garfinkel, Caleb
This exegesis investigates the musical outcomes of using Digital Signal Processing technique folding to manipulate the sound of the electric guitar in performance and composition. This is achieved by analysis of select works of American guitarist and electronic musician Christopher Willits, and personal investigations in constructing and testing computer software capable of folding. This practice-based research project has two objectives; the first is to uncover musical tools and objectives made possible by using folding to manipulate electric guitar sound, and the second is to contribute to the body of knowledge of using computers and Digital Signal Processing as a method to produce electroacoustic music. Computers are increasingly utilised to generate and manipulate sound in music performance. It is argued that folding can create a diverse range of musical elements beyond being simply a processing tool, and can enhance and expand the compositional and improvisational process. The insights gained from this investigation suggests that Digital Signal Processing techniques such as folding have the potential to generate musical events that can reflect traditional compositional elements such as melody, rhythm and texture. The outcomes suggest that study into processing techniques may further extend and affirm the role of the laptop computer in live music performance.


Principal supervisor

Robert Burke

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music

Campus location



Faculty of Arts