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Meta-Gesture Music: Social, Embodied, Interactive Musical Instruments


"The era of recorded music that dominated the 20th century is near its end. Jacques Attali predicted that society would pass from a use of music in ""répétition"" (reproduction) to physically engaged acts of ""composition."" Christopher Small coined the term, ""musicking"" to refer to all acts of engagement with music, breaking down the barriers between performer and spectator. This interdisciplinary project draws upon 3 complementary research fields to create gestural, interactive musical instruments for both musicians and non-musicians alike. It draws upon Auditory Culture studies to understand the cultural significance of music. It uses User Centered Design (UCD) methods to involve the end user in scenario building and creation of design mock ups. These ideas will be implemented in functional interactive musical instruments that are built and programmed using techniques from the field of New Instruments for Musical Expression (NIME). In this way, the project will explore the deep relationships we as humans have to sound and music. Engaging with music is not just a use of the ears, but an involvement of the whole body, the space around us, and the social situations we are in. Together, this creates ""embodied musical interaction"", interaction with music that is physical, situated, social, and participatory. This vision of music opens up the creative process of music and embraces all acts of engagement with music, from selecting, to listening, to dancing, to performing. The cultural perspective will inform the design of interactive instruments that use advanced sensor technologies such as: biosignal sensors detecting muscle tension, accelerometers on iPhones, motion capture systems for free space movement, to topological tracking with GPS. Sophisticated gesture recognition algorithms will be connected to advanced sound synthesis engines. Innovative techniques for correlating gesture to sound will result in engaging, accessible, embodied interactive musical instruments."

Call for proposal

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Lewisham way
SE14 6NW London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — East Lewisham and Southwark
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Atau Tanaka (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Karen Rumsey (Ms.)
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)