The goal of my research is to reduce technical barriers to creative expression, with a focus on audio and music. Digital audio production tools (the audio-equivalents to Photoshop) used to make music recordings are typically controlled using low-level technical parameters, imitating their analog counterparts from forty years ago. Learning the mapping between creative intent (“give me a <ka-CHUNK>”) and these low-level parameter setting requires considerable knowledge and experience, discouraging many from using the tools. In my research, I fundamentally rethink the interaction paradigm of audio production tools. My research allows users to communicate using natural methods similar to how one typically communicates audio ideas to another human—e.g. using descriptive language, vocal imitation, examples, and evaluative feedback. Using these methods, even novice users can realize and explore creative ideas, letting them overcome hurdles such as limited technical knowledge and experience with the tools. In this talk, I present systems that implement these interaction approaches and experiments that explore the strengths and limitations of these approaches.
Mark Cartwright is a Chicago-based computer scientist and musician. He is a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Northwestern University in Bryan Pardo’s Interactive Audio Lab. His research lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction, audio signal processing, and machine learning. It focuses on creating new interfaces and tools for music production that support creativity by rethinking the traditional interaction paradigms. He received a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts from Stanford University (CCRMA). He won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to fund his Ph.D. and was a visiting researcher at the Center for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London and Adobe’s Creative Technology Lab. As a member of the experimental-rock trio volcano!, Mark exercises his passion for low frequencies, enveloping noise, and unusual sound textures using computers, synths, and bass. volcano! has released albums on The Leaf Label and has toured the United States and Europe.