A sound installation

Philip DeCamp / Amber Frid-Jimenez

When rain falls, it produces millions of tiny sounds from every direction. These sounds create a sonic mapping of the environment that allows us to hear the objects around us - the location of nearby buildings, the edges of overhangs where streams of collecting water fall to the ground, pedestrians walking by holding umbrellas. This piece synthesizes the sound of rain in a virtual environment to draw attention to the spatial and contextual aspects of sound. The rain simulation software created for this piece models the geometry, material composition, and moving objects within a space in order to accurately adjust the sound of each falling raindrop.

This piece is composed of over a million clips of individual drops of water on skin, metal, wood and an umbrella. The system uses a floor plan to establish where each drop of water is placed in the imagined space and on what type of material each drop of water falls. The red lines drawn through the plan above represents the path of a sprite that passes through the synthesized space.

Rain was designed and developed during the Spring of 2006 in Tod Machover's Projects in Media and Music at the Media Laboratory at MIT. The sound installation was shown in Library Music: Silence Into Sound at Lewis Music Library.

© Rain was designed and built by Philip DeCamp and Amber Frid-Jimenez