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Title: A gestural interface for real-time composition: concepts and implementation
Author: Coimbra, João
Portovedo, Henrique
Carvalho, Sara
Keywords: Gestural interface
Human-computer interaction
Digital Musical Instrument
Issue Date: 4-May-2023
Publisher: CESEM, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Abstract: The use of the studio as a composition process using acoustic, analog, and digital instruments have been the basis of my artistic practice. This process promotes the interaction for different elements that make up the studio to favor composition through timbre as musical material. The way I’ve been using my studio has suffered constraints due to my need to add new sound materials for my composition. This Ph.D. project aims to answer this problem by constructing and mapping a digital musical instrument that uses gestures to produce sound. The Physical Computing Instrument (PCI) will restructure my composition process, adding new materials to the studio, while maintaining the use of the current ones. As a composer who uses performance as a procedure for real-time composition, gestural expressiveness is key when thinking about the creation of a musical instrument. Bodiless instruments are great examples of timbre generators but with no direct correlation between physical gesture and sound, as it happens for instance with acoustic instruments. To this project, the definition of a Digital Musical Instrument (DMI) it’s constricted to a musical instrument with a sound generator, detached from its control interface, and with musical and control parameters related to mapping implementation. Technological context makes it easier for composers and performers to develop their instruments and systems designed for a given musical context, meaning different ensembles, an interactive installation, or software-based work. However, these endless possibilities are also constraints since they offer infinite possibilities. Having this in mind, and as a research path, I adopted a strategy of design constraints, through mapping, hardware implementation, and idiomatic writing, to create the Physical Computing Instrument. Six pieces will be composed and performed to help build its final design. At the NCMM conference, I will be presenting compositional sketches to illustrate how these concepts will contribute to the implementation of the PCI. I also aim to demonstrate how the PCI may be useful for the growing community of musicians, composers, and academics who carry out research in this area, and for those not familiar with technology but eager to expand their artistic practice – experimenting with an instrument that will have a soft learning curve, will be portable, and that could be used to ‘augment’ an existing instrument. This project will also promote the sustainability of materials used in the PCI’s construction, and through the implementation of technical solutions, that will contribute to making the instrument a self-sufficient device, in terms of its energy consumption.
Peer review: yes
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Appears in Collections:INETmd - Comunicações

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