a study of gesture-based electronic musical instruments

December 13th, 2001

What if you could just wave your hands in the air and create music?

If you happen to be a professional music conductor then you are one of the few people that could make that fantasy a reality.  However, assuming you don’t happen to have an orchestra at your disposal (or the space, for that matter), then the following information may be of some use to you.

Researchers at a number of universities have developed ways for performers to express themselves musically, while operating outside the confines of conventional instruments.  Gesture-based electronic musical instruments use computers to interpret motion from a wide variety of sensory devices, which can be converted into various aspects of the music - such as tempo, pitch, or timbre.

The following report explores the various light, motion, and pressure sensing devices used in current gesture-related electronic instruments, and investigates how the computer uses the sensory information to generate music.

View the report here.

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3 comments for “a study of gesture-based electronic musical instruments”

  1. Check out the reactable:
    It’s a synth that uses blocks…
    You just have to see the demo.
    It’s definitely a push towards a more intuitive synth.

  2. Shawn, awesome link! I’ve seen an earlier version of that before, but I see it’s come a long way since. I would love to own one someday, but they’re not commercially available (yet).

    However, Microsoft (of all people) has an interface that is somewhat similar: http://www.microsoft.com/surface that will be available very soon. I can only hope there will be a music program as detailed as that one availble for it…

  3. Look ma, no instruments!

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