Two of the core members of The Game of Life’s Foundation team will impart a 3-day seminar on realtime sound spatialization with wave field synthesis. The seminar will deal with both compositional and technical issues surrounding spatial music and, focusing on electroacustic composition for wave field synthesis systems. The Game Of Life Foundation‘s mobile wave field synthesis system (composed of 192 speakers and 12 subwoofers) will be available on-site for participants to learn to operate the system and gain hands-on familiarity with space as a compositional parameter.

Wave field synthesis is a technique for sound spatialisation. It produces “artificial” wave fronts synthesized by a large number of individually driven speakers. Such wave fronts seem to originate from a virtual starting point. Contrary to traditional spatialization techniques such as stereo, the localization of virtual sources in WFS does not depend on or change with the listener’s position. As opposed to most multichannel systems, WFS has no sweet spot and allows for a wider optimal listening area.


Day #01

  • Introduction.
    • The Game of Life.
    • The construction of a WFS system.
  • Composition and space:
    • Listening without images.
    • The history of radio drama, about how techniques and
      thinking about space on reproduction systems developed.
    • What is it you hear and do not see?
    • Differences between vision and hearing.
    • Phenomenology.
    • What space am I hearing?
    • Listening to speaker systems causes a piling up of spaces.
    • Approaching space.
    • Real space, virtual space or alluding to space.
    • Perception.
      • Auditory stream segregation.
      • Notated trajectories and perception.
      • Moving sound: Distance and the Doppler effect.
    • Morphology: Forms of movement, gesture, texture, structure.
    • Aesthetics.
    • Wave field synthesis theory.
      • What space does mono represent?
      • Stereo and perspectival distortion.
      • Traité de la lumière: Christiaan Huygens.
      • From Huygens to Lord Rayleigh to professor Berkhout.
      • Perception of direction.
      • The sweet spot.
      • Doppler.
      • Focused sources.
    • The WFSCollider software.
      • The windows.
      • Servers, Post window, Score, EQ, Level, Udefs and UChains.
      • Editing Events and paths. Drawing paths.
      • Live input and controllers.
      • Coding with SuperCollider
      • How to work with the WFS speaker system.
      • Getting files in and out.

Day #02

  • WFS limitations.
    • Common issues and solutions.
    • Infinite planes.
    • Perfect monopoles and dipoles.
    • Truncation effects.
    • Distance between speakers.
    • The practical solution: Perception.
  • Other problems and limitations.
    • Horizontal speaker arrays.
    • Focused sources.
    • Moving a sound through a speaker array.
    • Distance perception.
    • Reverberation.
  • Individual tutoring.
  • Hands-on work with the WFS system.

Day #03

  • Individual tutoring.
  • More hands-on work with the WFS system.
  • Final presentation and discussion.
Language: English
Level: This seminar is aimed at musicians, composers, sound and media artists, music software developers, Participants will be organized into two groups according to their background and experience. The first group will work with a graphical GUI interface and requires just basic sound editing knowledge. The second group will use the SuperCollider interface to the wave field synthesis system and thus requires previous familiarity with this environment. Don’t hesitate getting in touch with us for further detais.

Tutors: Arthur Sauer and Wouter Snoei.

Arthur Sauer is a composer and performer. He has been writing electronic music, instrumental music, music for film, dance, theatre etc. He has been experimenting with spatial music for quite some time, which resulted in
founding The Game of Life Foundation. With this foundation he took the initiative to build a Wave Field Synthesis System. With Hotel Modern he created the concept op Live Animation Movies. He’s been touring all over the world.

Wouter Snoei studied at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague. He has worked in various fields of music practice, all involving electronic music. He has directed several performances of electroacoustic pieces by Luigi Nono, John Cage and Gérard Grisey. He works regularly with Slagwerkgroep Den Haag, ASKO Kamerkoor and VocalLab. Wouter also performed with Jasper Blom and other jazz artists at the North Sea Jazz festival, and as a dance producer in many Dutch club venues. In the past few years Wouters focus has shifted more and more towards composition and performance of solo live electronics and electro-acoustic music, adding live control as part of electronic composition. Furthermore Wouter is involved as composer and developer of Wave Field Synthesis, a spatial sound system involving 192 loudspeakers placed around an audience, and as a teacher at the Utrecht School of Arts and the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague.

Monday 18.06.2012, 10:00-18:00 (with lunch break)
Tuesday 19.06.2012, 10:00-18:00 (with lunch break)
Wednesday 20.06.2012, 10:00-18:00 (with lunch break)

Location: Fabra i Coats – Fàbrica de Creació. Sant Adrià, 20. Barcelona. Metro Sant Andreu.

Price: 160€ (limited places available, includes free entry to evening concerts and lectures)

To sign up or request further information, please send an email to

This activity is organized by l’ull cec with the collaboration of the Mondriaan Foundation, MACBA, The Game Of Life Foundation, Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya, Institut de Cultura de Barcelona i Fabra Coats – Fábrica de Creació.