As I slowly stumble through a PhD; a collection of things that may one day be a thesis...

My research is set within the field of Digital Luthiery and explores the influence of construction material and sound production in the design and use of digital musical instruments (dmis).

The research is conduction through a series of user studies (outlined below) in which interaction data is gathered as participants imagine (study 1), create (study 2) and perform on (Study 3) digital musical instrument that exhibit particular (and often constrained) material properties. This is facilitated through the use of a range of real and physically modeled materials and sounds. These real and virtual elements are lovingly crafted into musical possibilities by wonderful humans, while generating quantitative and qualitative data. A mix methods approach is implemented, which in combination with a micro-phenomenological interview technique seeks to quantify and rationalise user experiences.

The Life of an Idea

Industry Placement

- Bela/Touchkeys

The focus of my industry placement with Bela / Touchkeys was the development of a new musical instrument using the Touchkey sensors. Along the way the sensors were assessed against various common benchmarks of performance in digital musical instrument design, and have since grown into the Bela Trill range.

A surprising research outcome was the strength of material based affordances in peoples expectation of and reflection on new musical instrument prototypes. The project saw the development of Instrument X and an idea was born. More...

Study One

- Do We Speak Sensor? Cultural      Constraints of Embodied Interaction

Following the outcomes of the placement, Study One sought to explore the notion of cultural expectations and understandings of digital musical instruments based on their physicality and obvious sensor modalities. 'Non-functional' prototype instruments were used to probe participants expectations of interaction with a range of materials and sensor modalities (both imagined and explicit).

It is clear from the study that materiality plays a huge role
in expectation of both gestural interaction and sonic response in DMIs. Our data show that participants assessment of potential gesture is guided by the playing surface, and beyond this their expectation of what the instrument does and how it sounds is fundamentally linked to material considerations.

The outcome of the study highlights a limitation in relation to explicit sensor technology, which we attribute to a ‘machine centered’ approach to instrumental interaction. Participants exhibited a very different understanding of the sensor prototype, becoming preoccupied with the kind of spatial representation they assumed the digital sensor would produce. More...

Study Two

Sound -> Object -> Gesture : Physical Affordances of Virtual Materials

This study explores the influence of materials communicated through the sound of digital musical instruments. We are particularly interested in how musicians approach the design of new instruments when the sounds they make are constrained to recognisable material timbres and behaviours.

We present a digital musical instrument (DMI) design study in which 20 participants design 80 new DMIs using an instrument kit. We use enactive approaches to design to enable the participants to borrow from everyday understandings of interaction in the real world, revealing aspects of their environment mediated purely through sound during the study tasks.

We demonstrate that the influence of virtual material is strong, with participants not only taking material cues from the sound, but in places interaction strategies and performance approaches.

We suggest that in addition to commonly referenced modalities of sight and touch, sound can be both precursor and mediator to our selection of, and gestural interaction with, materials at the design stage. More...

Study Three

If the Cat barks do we scratch it, and other Micro-Phenomenological musings....

In development


Made with ♥ by Jon Pigrem

Page was started with Mobirise