Sound-Image Relations in Interactive Art

11 Audiovisual Interactions in the Digital Medium: From the Mixing Console to the Music Table

Other systems proceed from the concept of the mixing console to visually create or manipulate sound. In particular, (commercial) audio software (software sequencers such as Digital Performer, for example) often imitate the optics and functionality of analog mixing consoles, while more experimental systems attempt to better this functionality by means of other graphic forms of representation.[20] Further improvements have been achieved by new forms of music tables that visually depict the sounds, frequencies, and rhythms that can be or have been created, and also give them a spatial association. One highly sophisticated and complex example of the many music tables that exist is the reacTable[21]—a round table on which various marked building blocks are positioned and can be activated at the same time.[22] These building blocks adopt the function of generators, audio filters, controllers, control filters, audio mixers, and global objects (e.g., a metronome), although the user does not in any way need to know or be able to identify their function in order to create sequences of sound. The positioning of the building blocks with respect to each other determines their reciprocal influence. While the individual sound components are still depicted by symbols, their interaction is shown through connecting lines that visualize frequencies and rhythms. What is interesting about the reacTable—in addition to its truly vast range of possibilities for intuitive, real-time musical production and visualization—is its potential for collaborative improvisation between several users.