September 2003, Issue 61

Published by Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
[formerly Music for New Media Newsletter]

You can find the online version at:


Scientific findings: The Music Mind Machine project, The Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC), Brain Generated Music
For the blind or deaf
: Evelyn Glennie, Music and the Deaf, VibroAcoustic therapy
Toyland: Gesture and Narrative Language Group, Synthetic Characters Group
For musicians
: Max/MSP, M, radiaL
Hot developments
: Responsive Environment Groups - MIT Media Lab
Conferences & events
Subscription & feedback

: Scientific findings

The Music Mind Machine project
The MMM group is part of the University of Nijmegen (KUN) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
This site describes the research of the Music, Mind, Machine Group. This project is about the computational modeling of music cognition with an emphasis on the temporal aspects of music perception and music performance such as rhythm, timing and tempo. The site contains papers with sound examples, Quicktime animations, and other material.

The Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC)
The Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC) at the University of Southern California (USC) is the National Science Foundation's Exclusive Engineering Research Center for multimedia and Internet research. IMSC carries out a successful cross-disciplinary program of research, education, outreach, industry collaboration and technology transfer.

As a leader in the multimedia and Internet field, IMSC has developed such unique immersive technologies as 3D face modeling and animation, immersivision panoramic video technology, and immersive audio. Major progress is also being made in haptics (touch-related technologies), data compression and wireless communications.

IMSC's integrated research approach is progressing toward Immersipresence, the Center's vision for the future of the Internet. IMSC views Immersipresence as the next great breakthrough in our digital era that will dramatically change our world within this decade, transforming our 2D world of computers, TV and film into 3D immersive environments.

Brain Generated Music
The first NeuroSonics technology, Brain Generated Music (BGM), is a brain wave biofeedback system capable of evoking the "Relaxation Response," a desirable state of deep relaxation.

Other forms of biofeedback require conscious mental effort and the user needs to learn appropriate techniques to translate the feedback into the desired response. The NeuroSonics BGM technology does not require training or conscious effort. The evocation of increased alpha wave production and diminished beta wave activity is automatic and based on a psychoacoustic response to the BGM sounds that is not dependent on conscious direction.

The technology has shown promising results in a pilot stress reduction study at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Subjects reported experiencing a profound state of relaxation within ten minutes of using the BGM system. While the study should be regarded as preliminary, the results were very positive and strongly suggestive of a reliable effect in evoking the relaxation response.

BGM appears to be non habit-forming, free of side effects, and excellently suited for long-term self-regulatory and behavioral medicine. This leads us to speculate that we may have the basis of a new, scientifically valid, natural "psycho-pharmaceutical" or "drugless drug."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the sale of any products for which medical claims are made. NeuroSonics does not believe that FDA approval is required with respect to distribution and sale of products because they utilize the MCC technology or the BGM technology to evoke the relaxation response.

The FDA places therapeutic products into several classes. BGM, along with other biofeedback devices, falls into "Class 2" which means that the FDA must be notified before marketing of BGM products begins, but that those products do not have to pass a pre-marketing review by the FDA. There is little likelihood that this regulatory position will change in the future. Certain additional medical claims that the company may wish to make regarding future generations of the company’s products may require FDA approval.


For tailor-made chamber music concerts, flute and English lessons visit:

: For the blind or deaf

Evelyn Glennie
Evelyn Glennie is perhaps the best known deaf musician internationally. Glennie, an award-winning percussionist, has performed almost everywhere, and has her own web site. She has even released albums. Evelyn Glennie's web site offers samples of her music and video clips, her concert schedules, an online newsletter, a photo gallery, and even a scholarship for hearing impaired students studying music. A well-known cochlear implant recipient, Caitlin Parton, was one of the scholarship winners.

Music and the Deaf
Music and the Deaf defines its mission as "to help deaf people of all ages and degrees of hearing loss to access music and the performing arts through workshops, schools projects and signed theatrical performances throughout the United Kingdom".

Music and the Deaf was founded in 1988 by Paul Whittaker. An Oxford Graduate in Music and Associate of the Royal College of Organists and the London College of Music, Paul is profoundly deaf.
Paul is a crusader for music education in schools and is a pioneer of signed theatrical performances. He has worked with such prestigious producers as Lord Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh.
Music and the Deaf works closely with hearing-impaired services across the country and with schools and deaf centres to provide workshops and projects which are tailored to their individual needs. A major ongoing project is helping to deliver the music national curriculum to deaf young people in schools across the UK.

VibroAcoustic therapy
VibroAcoustic therapy is a complex and very wide area which encompasses the fields of 'Music Therapy', 'Physiology', 'Psychotherapy', 'Psychology', 'MusicMedicine (Neurology)' and 'VibroAcoustics'. Research work with sensory impairment people is still a specialised field of work, which needs to be expanded and understood.


: Extra-audionary
The is an information, communication and production platform for art, culture and new media. Its significance lies in the development of a productive network of relationships between artists, scientists and computer experts, as well as in the creation of an information interface between the media culture scene and the TIME industries. The aim is to bundle existing activities and create the basis for a melting pot forging innovations in media culture.



The Club of Amsterdam is an independent, international think tank, which reflects our future: How we want to live, to communicate with each other and what tools, cities we need, how we want to commute and how culture or industries should develop. In brief: what we want our future to be.
The Club of Amsterdam provides a bridge between industry, education and science. We organise events, seminars and workshops.

: Toyland

Gesture and Narrative Language Group

MIT Media Lab
GNL studies how artifacts such as agents and toys can be designed with psychosocial competencies, based on a deep understanding of human linguistic, cognitive, and social abilities.

Synthetic Characters Group
"Our passion is to create creatures whose behavior, form and underlying architecture not only informs our understanding of the natural intelligence displayed by animals and ultimately ourselves, but that also touches a person interacting with them on a profound personal level. We are as concerned with the elegance, simplicity and beauty of the underlying ideas as we are with the observable form and behavior. Much as an artist does not simply record what is there, but rather shows what he or she sees there, so too, we view the creatures that we create as personal statements that ideally celebrate their subject but which also challenge us to ask important questions about the nature and meaning of intelligence as well as our relationship to, and with, animals.

At the heart of this work is the search for the “computational scaffolding” or alternatively “conceptual primitives” that form the basis of commonsensical behavior and learning. Rather than taking a top-down or bottom-up approach, we start in the middle, informed by nature, and ask “what does the observed behavior of animals such as dogs seem to imply about the underlying representations and processes that allow them to behave and learn in a commonsensical manner?” Our belief is the best way to gain insight into this question is to build synthetic characters that solve similar problems, and by doing so, the key insights will emerge. Our expectation is that through this work we will uncover “catalytic” representations and processes whose presence bootstraps more powerful ones. By doing so, the work will not only inform top-down and bottom-up approaches, but will also inform our understanding of the natural phenomena."


: For musicians


Max/MSP is a graphical environment for music, audio, and multimedia. In use worldwide for over fifteen years by performers, composers, artists, teachers, and students, Max/MSP is the way to make your computer do things that reflect your individual ideas and dreams.
Max/MSP Annotated Resource Guide

M is an updated version of the classic composition program originally published in the mid 1980s.
Composing music with M is radically different from writing music on paper or recording into a tape recorder or MIDI sequencer.

Instead of merely playing back what you've already composed, M becomes a part of the actual process of composition. You enter your basic musical ideas and materials as melodies, chords, and rhythms, and then work with M to transform those ideas into finished compositions. M's powerful tools and musical controls let you work so quickly and interactively that the line between composing and performing becomes blurred. You're composing and performing at the same time, and with a vast array of controls. You can control your music by clicking and dragging the mouse on the computer screen, by "conducting" in a Conducting Grid, by pressing keys on your computer keyboard, or by playing specific notes on your MIDI keyboard.

When working with M, you hear the musical results of everything you do while you're doing it, so you can try new things and explore musical ideas without the computer getting in your way.

radiaL is based on loop channels represented by circular displays, each with its own performable multi-filter and pitch shifting/time scaling. Almost every aspect of the system can be configured for live performance, studio recording, or sound exploration, controlled from a variety of sources (control surfaces, MIDI, keyboard or mouse).


: Hot developments

Responsive Environment Groups - MIT Media Lab
< We create new sensing modalities and enabling technologies for responsive spaces that inspire new forms of interactive experience and expression. Our work is highlighted in diverse application areas, which range from interactive music systems and wearable computers to smart highways and medical instrumentation. >


: Conferences & events

Please visit the SONARIS Conference & Events Calendar at:


: Subscription & feedback

New Subscription:
Feedback: (subject: Feedback)
For Advertising: (subject: Advertising)
To unsubscribe:



Copyright © 2003 Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without written permission is prohibited. Sonaris Consulting cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of information supplied herein or for any opinion expressed.