Interface for ‘HEARIMPROV’

A commissioned instrument and visualisation for Adinda Van’t Klooster’s HEARIMPROV initiative. The device was utilised within a improvised musical performance, given by Adinda and colleagues, for the hearing impaired held at the Sage, Gateshead on the 17th October 2007.

The work seeks to create a live visualisation of three independent audio sources. The visual system can illustrate the spectral composition of each audio signal as it develops over time. This is achieved through adopting the characterizing structure of a spectrogram: frequency is plotted upon the vertical axis, time along the horizontal and amplitude represented by colour intensity. The analysis of each audio signal is presented within a single visualisation, hence a comparison can be easily made between the three channels.

A visual interface has been provided that allows a user to select any dominant pitch or harmonic within the plotted range and increase or decrease the sound intensity of this signal. Hence, a multi-sensual feedback network is created between the creators of sound at the three inputs, the initial spectral visualisation, the performer in control of the interactive element and the audiovisual alteration that this individual creates.

The finished system was implemented within an improvised performance held at the Sage, Gateshead that was specifically constructed to be appropriate for a hearing impaired audience. It is commented within Adina van’t Klooster’s press release for this concert that the spectral software “is an ideal tool for people with hearing difficulties as it allows for a better understanding of which frequencies in the sound they have lost or are over-sensitive to”. In addition to the given performance audience members were invited to trial the software and hence investigate the nature of their own hearing abilities.

Performers at Sage event: John Ayers (clarinet), Steve Brown (keyboard, guitar, voice), Jamie Thompson (oboe), Steve Ojay (bass), Adinda van ‘t Klooster (cornet), Mona McCarthy (accordion), Nick Williams (guitar), Ralph Bossingham (saxophone), Dominic Smith (melodica)

Visual scores (projected alongside the spectrogram) by: Dominic Smith, Adinda van ‘t Klooster, Julie Freeman, Steve Brown

For more info on the HEARIMPROV event see:

or a review at