Real-Time Control of Greek Chant Synthesis


Zannos I, Delviniotis D, Georgaki A, Kouroupetroglou G. Real-Time Control of Greek Chant Synthesis. Proceedings of SMC06. 2006:47–52.


This paper we report on an interdisciplinary project for modeling
Greek chant with real-time vocal synthesis. Building on previous
research, we employ a hybrid musical instrument: Phonodeon
(Georgaki et al. 2005), consisting of a MIDI-accordeon coupled to
a real-time algorithmic interaction and vocal synthesis engine.
The synthesis is based on data provided by the AOIDOS program
developed in the Department of the Computer science of the
University of Athens, investigating Greek liturgical chant
compared to bel canto singing. Phonodeon controls expressive
vocal synthesis models based on formant synthesis and
concatenated filtered samples. Its bellows serve as hardware
control device that is physically analogous to the human breathing
mechanism [georgaki, 1998a], while the buttons of the right hand
can serve multiple functions. This paper focuses on a particular
aspect of control, namely that of playing in the traditional nontempered
and flexible interval structure of Greek modes (ήχοι:
echoi) while using the 12-semitone piano-type keyboard of the
left hand. This enables the musical exploration of the relationship
between the spectral structure of the vocal timbre of Greek chant
and characteristic intervals occuring in the modal structure of the
chant. To implement that, we developed techniques for
superimposing interval patterns of the modes on the keyboard of
the phonodeon. The work is the first comprehensive interactive
model of antique, medieval and modern near-eastern tunings. The
techniques developed can be combined with techniques for other
control aspects, such as timbre and vocal expression control,
phoneme or (expressive/ornamental/melodic pattern, inflection)
sequence recall and combination, data record on/off, or others,
which form part of the phonodeon project. This research can find
applications in many computer music fields such as
algorithmically controlled improvisation, microtonal music, music
theory and notation of (algorithmic/computerized) real-time
performance, and computer modeling of experimental or nonwestern
musical styles.