Nicolas d'Alessandro | Postdoc at the University of Mons & musician.
Contact me: nda@numediart.org or on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google.
For the last 10 years, I've mainly been working on creating new musical instruments dedicated to the expressive control of artificial speech and singing. I'm fascinated by the cognitive leap that can be achieved when hands get in control of such a key human process. As much as the scientific questions raised by this work, being a "vocal puppeter" has something magical, and this magic leads me on stage.

I've been working on several projects. Starting in 2005 with bringing MBROLA into Max then in Pd. Then my PhD brought me to singing synthesis, with a seed project initiated with C. d'Alessandro at eNTERFACE'05. In 2007, I felt a different kind of instrument was needed to expressively control singing synthesis: HandSketch was born. After my PhD, I had the chance to work on the DiVA instrument. There I also developed a new instrument called ChoirMob, and co-founded an ensemble called Vox Tactum.Now I am back on HandSketch and also supervise the MAGE project.
Selected Videos
Selected Music
Selected Papers
M. Astrinaki, N. d'Alessandro, B. Picart, T. Drugman, T. Dutoit, "Reactive and Continuous Control of HMM-based Speech Synthesis," Proc. of the IEEE Workshop on Spoken Language Technology, Miami, Florida, December 2012.

M. Astrinaki, N. d'Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "MAGE - A Platform for Tangible Speech Synthesis," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 353-356, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 2012.

N. d'Alessandro, A. Pon, J. Wang, D. Eagle, E. Sharlin, S. Fels, "A Digital Mobile Choir: Joining Two Interfaces towards Composing and Performing Collaborative Mobile Music," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 357-360, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 2012.

J. Wang, N. d'Alessandro, S. Fels, B. Pritchard, "Investigation of Gesture Controlled Articulatory Vocal Synthesizer using Bio-Mechanical Mapping Layer," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 17-20, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 2012.

M. Astrinaki, N. d'Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "MAGE : A Platform for Performative Speech Synthesis New Approach in Exploring Applications Beyond Text-To-Speech," Proc. of the Listening Talker Workshop, pp. 53, Edinburgh, UK, May 2012.

A. Pon, J. Ichino, E. Sharlin, D. Eagle, N. d'Alessandro, S. Carpendale, "Vuzik: A Painting Graphic Score Interface for Composing and Control of Sound Generation," Proc. of the International Computer Music Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2012.

N. d'Alessandro, C. Ooge, T. Dutoit, S. Fels, "Analysis-by-Performance : Gesturally-Controlled Voice Synthesis as an Input for Modelling of Vibrato in Singing," Proc. of the International Computer Music Conference, Huddersfield, UK, July 2011.

N. d'Alessandro, J. Wang, B. Pritchard, S. Fels, "Bringing Bio-Mechanical Modelling of the OPAL Complex as a Mapping Layer for Performative Speech Synthesis," Proc. of the International Seminar on Speech Production, Montreal, June 2011.

N. d'Alessandro, R. Calderon, S. Müller, "ROOM#81 - Agent-Based Instrument for Experiencing Architectural and Vocal Cues," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 132-135, Olso, Norway, June 2011.

J. Wang, N. d'Alessandro, S. Fels, "SQUEEZY: Extending a Multi-touch Screen with Force Sensing Objects for Controlling Articulatory Synthesis," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 531–532, Olso, Norway, June 2011.

N. d'Alessandro, B. Pritchard, J. Wang, S. Fels, "Ubiquitous Voice Synthesis : Interactive Manipulation of Speech and Singing on Mobile Distributed Platforms," EA of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Vancouver, 2011.

M. Astrinaki, O. Babacan, N. d'Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "sHTS : A Streaming Architecture for Statistical Parametric Speech Synthesis," Proc. of the International Workshop on Performative Speech and Singing Synthesis, Vancouver, March 2011.

N. d'Alessandro, B. Pritchard, S. Fels, "A Design Space for Gesture to Performative Speech and Singing Synthesis," Proc. of the International Workshop on Performative Speech and Singing Synthesis, Vancouver, March 2011.

N. d'Alessandro, "Realtime and Accurate Musical Control of Expression in Voice Synthesis", PhD thesis defended at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Mons, Belgium, November 2009.

J. Urbain, T. Dubuisson, S. Dupont, C. Frisson, R. Sebbe, N. d'Alessandro, "AudioCycle: a Similarity-Based Visualization of Musical Libraries," Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo, pp. 1847-1848, July 2009.

S. Dupont, T. Dubuisson, J. Urbain, R. Sebbe, N. d'Alessandro, C. Frisson, "AudioCycle : Browsing Musical Loop Libraries," Proc. of IEEE Content Based Multimedia Indexing Conference, June 2009.

N. d’Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "Advanced Techniques for Vertical Tablets Playing: A Overview of Two Years of Practicing the HandSketch 1.x," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 59-61, June 2009.

N. d'Alessandro, O. Babacan, B. Bozkurt, T. Dubuisson, A. Holzapfel, L. Kessous, A. Moinet, M. Vlieghe, "RAMCESS 2.x Framework : Expressive Voice Analysis for Realtime and Accurate Synthesis of Singing," Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces, volume 2, n°2, pp. 133-144, SpringerLink, September 2008.

T. Drugman, T. Dubuisson, A. Moinet, N. d'Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "Voice Source Parameters Estimation by Fitting the Glottal Formant and the Inverse Filtering Open Phase," Proc. of the 16th European Signal Processing Conference, August 2008.

T. Drugman, T. Dubuisson, A. Moinet, N. d'Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "Glottal Source Estimation Robustness," Proc. of the IEEE International Conference on Signal Processing and Multimedia Applications, July 2008.

N. d'Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "RAMCESS/HandSketch : A Multi-Representation Framework for Realtime and Expressive Singing Synthesis," Proc. of Interspeech, Synthesis of Singing Challenge (Special Session), September 2007.

N. d'Alessandro, A. Moinet, T. Dubuisson, T. Dutoit, "Causal/Anticausal Decomposition for Mixed-Phase Description of Brass and Bowed String Sounds," Proc. of the International Computer Music Conference, vol. 2, pp. 465-468, 2007.

N. d'Alessandro, T. Dutoit, "HandSketch Bi-Manual Controller: Investigation on Expressive Control Issues of an Augmented Tablet," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 78-81, June 2007.

C. d'Alessandro, N. d'Alessandro, B. Doval, S. Le Beux, "Comparing Time- and Spectral-Domain Voice Source Models for Gestural Controlled Voice Instruments," Proc. of the International Conference on Voice Physiology and Biomechanics, 2006.

N. d'Alessandro, C. d'Alessandro, B. Doval, S, Le Beux, "RealtimeCALM Synthesizer: New Approaches in Hands-Controlled Voice Synthesis," Proc. of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 266-271, June 2006.

N. d'Alessandro, B. Bozkurt, R. Sebbe, Thierry Dutoit, "MaxMBROLA: A Max/MSP MBROLA- Based Tool for Realtime Voice Synthesis," Proc. of the 13th European Signal Processing Conference, August 2005.

C. Traube, N. d'Alessandro, "Synthèse de l'Imitation Vocale et Représentation Graphique des Gestes Phonétiques Sous-Jacents à la Description du Timbre de la Guitare Classique," International Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology, 2005.

C. Traube, N. d'Alessandro, "Vocal Synthesis and Graphical Representation of the Phonetic Gestures Underlying Guitar Timbre Description," International Conference on Digital Audio Effects, pp. 104-109, September 2005.
Bio Blurp
Nicolas d’Alessandro obtained his PhD in Applied Sciences from the University of Mons in 2009. From a lifelong interest in musical instruments and his acquired taste in speech and singing processing, he will incrementally shape a research topic that aims at using gestural control of sound in order to gain insights in speech and singing production. Therefore his interventions on stage always gather an interdisciplinary research side, taking its roots in human cognition and voice production. Starting in 2003, with the development of the MaxMBROLA object, nowadays widely used in digital arts. In 2004, he moves to Montreal for an internship with Prof. Caroline Traube that brings a Master thesis exploring similarities between voice and guitar timbres. He is back with Prof. Thierry Dutoit for a PhD at the University of Mons, where he will have the chance to collaborate with many other great speech and singing specialists such as Profs. Baris Bozkurt, Christophe d’Alessandro, Boris Doval and Yannis Stylianou. Late 2009, he moves to Canada again, to take a postdoc position with Prof. Sidney Fels at the MAGIC Lab, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where he will work on the DiVA project. There he will also organize the first p3s workshop. Since December 2011, he is back in the University of Mons and leads MAGE, HandSketch and ChoirMob projects.