Carla Scaletti

Carla Scaletti

Carla Scaletti (b. 1956) is an American electronic music composer, harpist, and creator of the Kyma sound design technology. She studied composition with Salvatore Martirano, John Melby, Herbert Brün and Scott Wyatt and received her BMus degree from the University of New Mexico, MMus from Texas Tech University, as well as master's in computer science and Ph.D. in music composition from the University Of Illinois.

In the 1970s, she worked as principal harpist with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, and composed for acoustic instruments, but later developed an interest in computer music. She worked as a researcher at the Sound Group of Computer-based Education Research Laboratory (CERL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1986, she wrote the first version of Kyma using Smalltalk programming language. The program was computing digital audio samples on Macintosh 512K. Next year Scaletti partitioned Kyma into graphics and sound generation engines and ported the sound generation code to a digital signal processor Platypus designed by Lippold Haken and Kurt J. Hebel of the CERL Sound Group. She presented a paper on Kyma and demonstrated Platypus at the International Computer Music Conference. Robert Moog noted and praised it as an important technology to watch in his conference report for Keyboard Magazine.

When the UoI at Urbana-Champaign eliminated the funding for the laboratory in 1989, Scaletti and Hebel formed Symbolic Sound Corporation to continue working on Kyma and DSP hardware. The company has developed and popularized several audio processing and synthesis techniques, such as real-time spectral analysis, additive resynthesis, audio morphing, granular and Tau synthesis. John Paul Jones, BT, David Gilmour, Junkie XL, Cristian Vogel, and Metal Machine Trio have used Kyma to produce and record music. Also, the technology was involved in making many blockbuster soundtracks, including War of the Worlds, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Finding Nemo, WALL•E, The Dark Knight, as well as World of Warcraft, Mirror's Edge and Quake II video games.

Scaletti has published articles in Computer Music Journal, Perspectives Of New Music, and proceedings of the OOPSLA and SPIE conferences. In 2003, she received the Distinguished Alumnae Award for contributions in the field of music from Texas Tech University. From 2000 to 2007, Carla lectured at the Center for the Creation of Music Iannis Xenakis (CCMIX) in Paris. Scaletti was also a member of the advisory board of the Electronic Music Foundation.
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