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Kyma: Sound Design Workstation

As part of the NSF pilot, I am designing many of the data sonifications using Kyma by Symbolic Sound. Symbolic Sound was founded and is owned by Carla Scaletti and Kurt Hebel. I like to describe Kyma as a sound design workstation, a recombinant sound language, a live-performance machine, a data sonification toolkit, and a secret sound exploration powerhouse. To detail all that Kyma can do or how it functions is almost like describing the game Othello — “a minute to learn; a lifetime to master.” The hardware/software system offers a world of sound design possibility, its features allow for flexible combinations of sound modules, creative exploration throughs auto-generated collections and pseudo-randomness, machine learning MIDI algorithms, and reactive programming using Kyma’s own Capytalk language. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. As I sound and document some of the auditory display and sonification processes in the pilot, Kyma will often play a central role. I’ll make notes about other software and signal-processing techniques involved where and when I can.


Image of Kyma's hardware engine, the Pacarana

Image: Kyma's Pacarana sound engine by Symbolic Sound. Image copyright: Symbolic Sound.

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Learn more about Kyma.

Learn more about the Kyma International Sound Symposium.

by Jon Bellona


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