New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Luisa Pereira Hors

In this course students create digital musical instruments and do a live performance using them. Over the semester, we look at examples of current work by creators of musical interfaces, and discuss a wide range of issues facing technology-enabled performance – such as novice versus virtuoso performers, discrete versus continuous data control, and the relationship between musical performance and visual display. Readings and case studies provide background for class discussions on the theory and practice of designing controllers for musical performance. Students design and prototype a musical instrument – a complete system encompassing musical controller, algorithm for mapping input to sound, and the sound output itself. A technical framework for prototyping performance controllers is made available. Students focus on musical composition and improvisation techniques as they prepare their prototypes for live performance. The class culminates in a musical performance where students (or invited musicians) will demonstrate their instruments. Prerequisites: ITPG-GT.2233 (Introduction to Computational Media) and ITPG-GT.2301 (Physical Computing)