Thursday, 14 February 2013

Modular Musical Objects Towards Embodied Control Of Digital Music


The authors of the paper present an ensemble of tangible objects that are linked to software modules designed for musical interaction and performance within digital music. The central concept is to allow musicians to decide on the musical function of the objects. This favours customisation, assembling and repurposing existing everyday objects.

The Review:

As a digital music producer who has never been formally trained to play an instrument but is very interested in playing digital music live, I was very excited to review this paper. There is a big shift currently happening in electronic music, we are seeing the crossover from the traditional "DJ" (who plays digital music through a player (vinyl, cds, mp3s) manipulating it and remixing it) to a live digital music performer. Most live performers rely on midi controllers with some artists branching out further, for example Gastavo Bravetti and his show alternative controllers where he uses Ableton Live with specially designed hand controllers, Wii remotes and tubes to manipulate his music.

The authors of this paper present a new way to interact with digital music, encouraging musicians to build new controllers and make existing objects into controllers by using a design up method ( The team designed several hardware objects that allow the user to interact with digital sounds wirelessly, using either new techniques or traditional techniques. In this video you can see a person/persons interacting with an object. Different interactions  create different sounds or notes.

By using these hardware object with Max/Msp, musicians can program multipule ways in which to interact with and perform live digital music. With the addition of Max for Live ( ) it is even easier to create these digital hardware instruments. In the video below we see an object that can be attached to any surface and played, by using different hand gestures the musicians can create different notes and sounds.

In the following video we see people interacting with everyday kitchen objects, they connect a sensor to the object they want to perform with which allows for the objects to cause a reaction, thus creating music.

This research presents an exciting results for musicians that want to perform live. If you are interested and would like to read more about this subject check out their blog here:

and's full length review:

Nicolas Rasamimanana, Frederic Bevilacqua, Norbert Schnell, Fabrice Guedy, Emmanuel Flety, Come Maestracci, Bruno Zamborlin, Jean-Louis Frechin, and Uros Petrevski. 2010. Modular musical objects towards embodied control of digital music. In Proceedings of the fifth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (TEI '11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 9-12. DOI=10.1145/1935701.1935704

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