[Work Image]

Fourmant (2018)

Installation, speakers, stands, black veils, audio and power cables, computer, audio interface, generative audio, dimensions variable.



Audio excerpt uses a blend of direct and room recording.


Fourmant builds on the speech synthesis engine written for ‘Phoneme’ with a few key differences:

Multiple instances of the engine are used, each one placed in its own speaker; a small collection of ‘dialects’ or rules apply to each voice such as scale, octave range, and tempo; and the pitch or intonation of the speech has also been quantised, or restricted to a range of traditional musical scales.

This means that while the specific pitch, volume, timbre, and rhythm of each voice are relatively independent, all three voices speak, or sing as a communal whole observing the same grammatical rules, even as these rules change over time.


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Studio monitors, black veils, speaker stands, audio and power cables, computer with audio interface, custom software. The software is comprised of a speech-synthesis engine designed to mimic the human voice, and generative composition tools.

One instance of the speech engine is placed in each speaker, and a small collection of ‘dialects’ or rules apply to each voice including scale, range, and tempo. While the specific pitch, volume, timbre, and rhythm of each voice are relatively independent, all three voices speak, or sing as a communal whole observing the same grammatical rules, even as these rules change over time.

The primary goal of the project was providing a new, open and meaningful answer to the question: What is Voice? However, the greater goal of undertaking such a project was to develop a set of skills applicable to investigating any subject, and communicating the results effectively.

Various pieces were developed, both in attempt to discover an answer to the initial question, and how to communicate answers found. The work also draws heavily on existing work dealing with problems of Voice, as well as the qualification of practice-based research. The final work is a synthesis of these approaches.