Physical Modeling & Modular Syntheses


air layering

A propagation method for woody plants that allows the rooting of branches while still attached to the parent plant. Layering is enhanced by wounding the stem where the roots are to form. (Evans, Blazich)

brick hod

A brick hod is a three-sided open-ended box used for carrying building materials like mortar and bricks.


Drawing from Coppice’s glossary of study in bellows and electronics between 2009–2014, Newly Cemented Dedication to Freedom marked an intention towards reengineering a practice of composition and still images into one of sound design and moving images. 

a proposed excavation (to tell the history of a vanishing object)

The music evolved from a simple pairing of physical modeling and modular syntheses, and gradually integrating convolution effects, actual and falsified perceptual compression artifacts, actual and simulated spaces and devices, field recording, Rhodes Bass Piano/Korg drawbar organ/Wurlitzer electric piano (and their emulators), as well as musical features like melodies, rhythms, voices and lyrics.

Newly Cemented Dedication to Freedom

The title functioned as a framework for cross-modal projects developed through live presentations, images (online “content”) and recorded music. The array of projects displays a perspective on music under construction (and demolition.)

degrees of freedom

The musical spectrum spanned improvisation restraints, effects-based music, electroacoustic composition with narrative arch, and songwriting found in versions (ie. musical variations, stereo and multi-channel mixes.)


The music progressed at the exclusion of duo-signal processing, a central characteristic of the music for bellows and electronics. Instead, signals were treated independently, generating a new set of duo dynamics, live performance strategies, spatialization, amplification and studio techniques. 

physical modeling synthesis and aftertouch

Physical modeling synthesis is a form of digital synthesis that uses mathematical models to describe the physical characteristics of the materials of a certain musical instrument and its behavior. It differs from other forms of synthesis in that it functions by modeling the sound mechanism as well as the sound. 

Whereas prepared pump organs made full use of the characteristics of individual keys (each with differing responses to air pressure and effects on reed features), physical modeling synthesis was programmed in relationship to aftertouch (effects from pressure sensitivity on keys) across the range of each model.  Aftertouch is one of several means of expression that articulate Fake Air. 

impossible objects and air conditioning

The characteristics of Coppice’s collection of physical modeling models or “impossible objects” were inspired by spark-ignition, combustion, and the interactions between air/fire and heating/cooling. Other models include an emulation of a prepared pump organ, referencing previous work with actual prepared pump organs.

Fake Air and Fake Fire

In continuation of the bellows-sourced study of air–and as a paradox to the objectives of physical modeling synthesis as a technique–emulations of non-physical, elemental phenomena were designed to create audio illusions of Fake Air and Fake Fire. Rather than sampling specific behaviors or recordings, these sonic illustrations of disembodied phenomena evolved from mental projections and fictions of each. 

These “impossible objects” explore incongruous, abstract questions of non-existent edges against which fake air would brush, and undisclosed eliminations from fake fire.

Fake Air explores self-referential relationships between sound and air, the medium that propagates it. It is a sound transmission in air found by its listener who renders it partly imaginary.

superficial music

The superficial aspects of Fake Air and Fake Fire and their relationship to loudspeaker placement (in installations) may support illusions of identity of source. Their physiological effect may be wholly illusory as they operate behind the acousmatic curtain. 

instrumentation and emulators

Electro-acoustic interaction and mechanical instrumentation, two of the initial characteristics of Coppice re-emerged in different expressions: signal processing as an effect tool to transform the timbres of electronic sounds into physical ones by the custom-designed Multi-Material Filter (2013), and Copper Plate (2015), while pump organs were substituted by the electromechanical Fender Rhodes Piano Bass (cir. 1970) and its digital emulator.

Derivative instrumentation included a Korg CX-3 drawbar organ and its emulator, cymbal/electro-acoustic percussion objects, Transmitters, Modified Boombox IV (cir. 2014), and others. 

The use of guitar amps and emulator effects offered detailed experiences of differences, similarities and blends of origins and simulations. 


Following a sustained interest in spatialized and decentralized multi-channel systems of multiple speaker types in performed installations, Newly Cemented Dedication to Freedom unfolded over site-responsive presentations that invited listeners to consider their own vantage point and change it if possible or desired.


Obsolescence–as distinguished from disappearance or destruction–describes ‘the persistence of the thing in a straitened or muted role, not its vanishing.’ (Durham Peters)

a lenseless situation

Björn Hellström describes the metabolic effect as a perceptual effect from the unstable and metamorphic relation between the elements that compose a sonic unit, and as “culturally significant of collective acoustic space”–figures and backgrounds that seem to constantly substitute each other. He asks “how does the sonic background act to become a figure? Does it distort, as it does in certain visual representations–ie. the figure that positions itself on the background?”

construction surveying

See Wikipedia.


In auditory perception, an occluding effect occurs when an object fills the outer portion of a person’s ear canal, perceived as a hollow or booming, echo-like sounds of their own voice (Ross).

In computer graphics, occlusion culling is a feature that disables rendering of objects when they are not seen by the camera because they are obscured by other objects. (Unity documentation, Version 2017.2)

In meteorology, occluded fronts contain the characteristics of both cold and warm fronts. 

occluded music

Between 2014-2017 Coppice produced Open On Occluded Conditions with falsified perceptual compression artifacts from spectral processors, and convolution effects that falsify spaces and devices.

polarity and diametric ignition

A uniform melody may be found in contrasting musical arrangements corresponding to opposing temperaments (the way the same vehicle may be found driving into a tunnel and cul-de-sacs.) 

parallel motion and doubling

Melodies appear as doubled octaves, or suggested by the intervals between bichords (as doubled chords.)


The sonic composition effect of coupling describes the interaction of two sonic phenomena, which, without necessarily being in a causal relation to each other, are perceived as one bound and distinct structure. (Augoyard, Torgue)

The coupling effect was explored in Emanations (2015) for Korg CX-3 drawbar organ and its emulator. 

search image

A mental image of desired prey that assists animals in detecting their food and cryptic prey. (Breed)


A three-dimensional structure.