What is the Eighth Nerve?

The eighth cranial nerve is the acoustic nerve; it connects the ear to the central nervous system. Processing and interpretation take place along the entire auditory pathway, making it difficult to say where the ear ends and the brain begins.

Eighth Nerve, the newsletter, is intended to provide information, advice, and news relating to sound computation in Kyma: a visual language for sound design, music, psychoacoustics, sonification, and other applications of sound on computers.

In the early days of electroacoustic and computer music, the large studios and institutes served not only as centers for research and creative resources but as central locations where musicians, scientists, and engineers could work side-by-side, participate in lively discussions, influence each other, challenge each other, and inspire each other.

Now, the technology of electroacoustic sound production and computer music is much more widely available, and, as a result, many more musicians and researchers can participate in its evolution without having to be affiliated with one of the large institutes or studios. But what about the non-material benefits provided by the old centers for music creation and research? What about the intellectual and creative stimulation that could be found in the hot house atmosphere created by bringing together just the right combinations of active, creative, curious people?

Kyma users comprise a diverse, geographically dispersed group of talented individuals in the fields of music, science and engineering. Through the Internet, we also form a creative/research community, like the physical communities that grew up around the older centers for music and acoustic research. Although we do not run into each other in physical hallways or meet for late night discussions at actual coffee houses, we do share ideas/sounds/information (and, just as importantly, engage in friendly competition as well as mutual promotion) via email, an Internet mail list, and this WWW newsletter.