Surround Sound? You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet
TROY, N.Y. — If you’ve spent any time at children’s birthday parties, you probably know what an inflated balloon sounds like when rubbed: harsh, squeaky, not particularly resonant.
“Rubbed-balloon sound” might not seem like a sonic texture you’d place much stock in if you were creating a musical work. But how would that change if you were listening from inside the balloon? The composer Natasha Barrett decided to answer the question. She put a 3D microphone in a balloon, pressed the record button and got down to some serious rubbing.
On Monday morning, at a “spatial audio” lecture at EMPAC — the experimental media and performing arts center that is part of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute here — Ms. Barrett’s interior-balloon 3D recording was played in an acoustical marvel of a concert hall, outfitted with one of the world’s most advanced ambisonic systems.