Norbert Schnell

Norbert Schnell Researcher and Developer
Music Technologist
Sound and Interaction Designer

{ Sound Music Movement } Interaction
IRCAM – Centre Pompidou
Université Pierre et Marie Curie

1 place Igor Stravinsky
75004 Paris, France
+33 1 44 78 48 64

Research Topics and Interests

  • Music making and listening in the 21st Century
  • Control and reenactment of sound and music
  • Morphology of sound and movement (and their relationship)
  • Collaborative and situated interaction
  • Real-time interactive content based audio processing
  • Real-time analysis/re-synthesis
  • Web audio technologies and applications
  • Massive multi-channel sound synthesis


  • Coordinator of the CoSiMa research project, 2013-2017.
  • Initiator and chair of the annual Web Audio Conference (WAC), 2015.
  • PhD (Doktor der Philosophie) at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Graz, supervisor: Gerhard Eckel, 2013.
  • DAAD Edgard Varèse Guest Professor for Electronic Music, TU Berlin 2007.
  • Head of the IRCAM Real-Time Musical Interactions and former Real-Time Applications team, 2002–2007.
  • Chair of the 2006 International Conference on New Instruments for Musical ExpressionNIME 06, 2006.
  • Member of the NIME steering commitee, 2006–2011.
  • Member of the IRCAM Real-Time Systems team, 1995–2002.
  • Collaborator of the MusikLabor Wien, 1994–1995.
  • Degree Diplom Ingenieur (Toningenieur) of the Technical University and the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Graz, 1996.
  • Diplomarbeit at the AKG Acoustics Wien, 1994/95.
  • Studio Assistant at the IEM, Institute for Electronic Music and Acousics Graz, 1990–1994.
  • Studies at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Graz, Music theory with Georg Friedrich Haas, Bernhard Lang and Gerd Kühr, 1990–1996.

Software Development Projects

  • Soundworks, framework for creating collective audiovisual experiences based on networked mobile devices, Javascript framework, since 2014.
  • WaveJS, UI and audio library for web audio applications, Javascript library, since 2013.
  • IAE, Interactive Audio Engine, C++ library, since 2011.
  • MuBu, Multi-rate and multi-representation sound and movement description data container and visualization with audio analysis and synthesis operators, C/C++ library and modules, since 2009.
  • PiPo, Programming Interface for Afferent Stream Processing Operators, C API and library, since 2013.
  • Psychox, Real-time voice auto-tuning and harmonisation, C library, 2010.
  • FTM & Co, Programming environment for real-time sound and movement analysis, modelling and synthesis (partially open source) integrated into Max/MSP, 2002-2010.
  • SuperVP for Max/MSP, Advanced phase vocoder modules for high quality real-time sound transformation, C/C++ modules, 2008-2014.
  • Other Max/MSP modules, Miscellaneous modules for sound analysis, re-synthesis and visualisation in the Max/MSP programming environment, C/C++ modules, 2002-2014.
  • HARTIS, Real-time interactive car sound simulation system based on additive and granular synthesis for PSA Peugeot Citroën, Max/MSP application, 2004–2011.
  • jMax and Max-FTS, Multi-platform Max-like open source programming environments, C/Java software, 1995–2002.

EC R&D Projects

  • Rapid-MIX, Real-time Adaptive Prototyping for Industrial Design of Multimodal Interactive eXpressive technology, 2015-2018.
  • MusicBricks, Musical Building Blocks for Digital Makers and Content Creators, 2015-2016.
  • SAME, Interactive mobile music applications, 2008-2010.
  • I-MAESTRO, Multimodal analysis and feedback in music pedagogy, 2005-2008.
  • Semantic HIFI, Real-time interactive content based audio processing, 2004-2006.

National R&D Projects

  • CoSiMa (coordinator), Collaborative co-located mobile interactions based on web standards, 2013-2017.
  • WAVE, Web Audio Visualization and Editing, 2013-2015.
  • SampleOrchestrator2, Real-time interactive content based audio processing, 2011-2013.
  • Interlude, Novel paradigms for expressive gestural exploration and interaction with digital musical content, 2008 -2010.
  • Topophonie, Audio-graphic modelling and real-time interactive synthesis of sound textures, 2009-2012.
  • SampleOrchestrator, Real-time interactive content based audio processing, 2006-2009.
  • VoxStruments, Voice analysis for sound synthesis control, 2006-2009.
  • 2PIM/MI3, Interactive multimodal programming platform for the meta-instrument, 2006-2009.

Design Projects and Artistic Collaborations (selection)

  • Chloé × Ircam, Live-electronic concert with where the audience in invited to participate through performing with their smartphones, with Chloé, Benjamin Matuszewski, Sébastien Robaszkiewicz, and Jean-Philippe Lambert at the Festivals Fête de la Musique et Nuit Blanche Paris, 2015.
  • Terminal, interactive audiovisual installation based on the sound materials and interaction design of the Chloé × Ircam concert, with Chloé, the Scale Collective, Benjamin Matuszewski, Sébastien Robaszkiewicz, and Jean-Philippe Lambert at the Festival Paris Musique Club at the Gaité Lyrique Paris, 2015/2016.
  • Urban Musical Game, Installation of a musical ball game in public space, with Frédéric Bevilacqua, Nicolas Rasamimanana, Julien Blois, Jean-Louis Frechin, Uros Petrevski, and Andrea Cera and the Festivals Future en Seine and Agora IRCAM Paris, 2011.
  • Sans Sous-Titre, Sound installation based on a database of speech recordings (people telling jokes) in all/any languages of the world, with Wolf Ka and Maryline Gillois, Paris 2011.
  • MindBox, Audio-visual installation based on a gambling machine, with Christian Graupner and Roberto Zappala, Festival CynetArt Dresden, 2009, Festival Uva/Grapes Catania, Japan Media Arts Festival Tokyo, EMPAC Troy/New York, 2010.
  • Cameleon Kaleidoscope, Piece for ensemble by Marco Antonio Suarez Cifuentes Development of real-time analysis/re-synthesis, Biennale Musiques en Scène Lyon, 2010.
  • S0UNDB1TS, Sound installation for 578 independent elementary sound sources, with Robin Minard, Festival Inventionen Berlin, 2002.
  • Maison de l’Ecluse, Sound installation in the framework of the Anamnesis event, with Antony Hequet and Antonella Bussanich, Chatillon sur Loire, 2000.
  • Players – Twilight Zone, Concert and installation for 2 chess players, 3 musicians and 3 pinball players, with Peter Böhm, Uli Fussenegger and Corinne Schweitzer, Steirischer Herbst Graz, 1997.
  • Narzissus, Opera by Beat Furrer, Development of real-time processing for time stretching and sound spatialisation, with Peter Böhm, Steirischer Herbst Graz, Salzburger Festspiele, Biennale di Venezia, 1994.

PhD Thesis

  • N.Schnell, Playing (with) Sound – Of the Animation of Digitized Sounds and their Reenactment by Playful Scenarios in the Design of Interactive Audio Applications, PhD Thesis, Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, October 2013. (PDF)


  • N. Schnell, G. Peeters, S. Lemouton, P. Manoury, X. Rodet, “Synthesizing a choir in real-time using Pitch Synchronous Overlap Add (PSOLA) “, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Berlin, September 2000.
  • F. Déchelle, R. Borghesi, N. Orio, N. Schnell, “The jMax environment: an overview of new features”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Berlin, September 2000.
  • R. Bargar, F. Déchelle, I. Choi, A. Betts, C. Goudeseune, N. Schnell, W. Olivier, “Coney Island, combining JMax, Spat and VSS for Acoustic Integration of spatial and temporal models in a virtual reality installation”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), San Francisco, 2000.
  • M. M. Wanderley, N. Orio, N. Schnell, “Towards an analysis of interaction in sound generating systems”, International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA), Paris, December 2000.
  • F. Iovino, N. Schnell, O. Lartillot, “Modalys in jMax, real-time modal-synthesis”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Beijing, October 1999.
  • F. Déchelle, M. de Cecco, E. Maggi, N. Schnell, “jMax recent developments”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Pekin, September 1999.
  • F. Déchelle, R. Borghesi, M. de Cecco, E. Maggi, J. B. Rovan, N. Schnell, “jMax: An Environment for Real-Time Musical Applications”, Computer Music Journal, vol. 23, n° 3, p. 50-58, September 1999.
  • F. Déchelle, R. Borghesi, M. de Cecco, E. Maggi, J. B. Rovan, N. Schnell, “jMax: a new JAVA-based editing and control system for real-time musical applications”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Ann Arbor, October 1998.
  • M. M. Wanderley, N. Schnell, J. B. Rovan, “ESCHER – Modeling and Performing Composed Instruments in real-time”, IEEE International Conference on Systems Man and Cybernetics, San Diego – CA, October 1998.
  • F. Déchelle, R. Borghesi, M. de Cecco, E. Maggi, J. B. Rovan, N. Schnell, “jMax: demonstration of an integrated environment for real time musical applications”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Ann Arbor, October 1998.
  • F. Déchelle, R. Borghesi, M. de Cecco, E. Maggi, J. B. Rovan, N. Schnell, “Latest evolutions of the FTS real-time engine, typing, scoping, threading, compiling”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Ann Arbor, October 1998.
  • F. Déchelle, M. de Cecco, E. Maggi, N. Schnell, “New DSP applications on FTS”, International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Hong Kong, 1996.
  • N. Schnell, “GRAINY – Granularsynthese in Echtzeit: Eine Objekt-Sammlung für Max auf der ISPW”, Beiträge zur Elektronischen Musik, BEM 4, Beiträge zur Elektronischen Musik, IEM Graz 1994.