Short Version (less than 12 minutes)
Sounding Orbs is a generative virtual instrument that allows a performer to explore a space of light and sound simultaneously. The conceptual core of this instrument is a structure of forty-eight orbs, rendered as light-producing spheres and synthesized tones.
The orbs are arranged in space according to a multi-dimensional model of pitch perception, with harmonic proximity correlated with spatial proximity. Furthermore, loudness is proportional to proximity with the observer, allowing for the sensation of harmonic fields depending on the shape of nearby collections of orbs.
The array of orbs is activated by a cellular automaton, which allows for evolution in a dynamic and variegated way across space that resembles, but is not identical to, musical voice-leading. Furthermore, because of the emergent capabilities of cellular automata, there is always the possibility of being surprised by the results of Sounding Orbs.
Although the core structure and activation method are grounded in discrete models or processes, numerous controls allow the performer to bend these hard Cartesian edges. Discrete, pulse-based temporality can shift easily into more stochastic articulations of time. Unusual harmonic collections and atonality can be achieved through the spatial scattering of orbs. The shape and fidelity of each orb can be scrambled or degraded, altering their timbre. In short, the performer has the ability to continually refresh the audio-visual experience with new textures and timbres that undermine the discrete nature of the core structures and processes.