Designing for the Mindbody in Technology-Mediated Music-Making
Being and Becoming, for oboe and live electronics, III. End and Beginning, by Aura Pon 2014 (74.24Mb)
Torrent, for flutes and water, by Aura Pon. Performance 2 recording, Mount Royal Chamber Flutes, 2016 (79.62Mb)
Radford, Ronald Laurie Charles
Committee MemberSallis, Friedemann
Digital Musical Instruments
New Interfaces for Musical Expression
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AbstractTogether as attributes of one entity, the mind and body determine how we experience, understand, and make music. Our bodily experiences in the world shape how we comprehend music. In turn, our music cognition and expressive intentions, which are based on our bodily experiences, are mediated through the body when we make music. This inseparable mind-body interaction is essential to our sense of meaning, connection, and embodiment in our musical experiences, yet this dynamic is not always intact in today's technology-mediated music-making. Digital technology offers endless possibilities for new musical sounds and the mechanisms to control them, but the relationship between musical intentions, human action, and sound in such technology must be deliberately designed. Some current approaches to designing computer-based musical experiences dichotomize these mental and physical aspects of music-making, causing issues of disembodiment and disengagement. Employing a practice-based research methodology, the author's project explores the potential of considering the “mindbody” in the design of interactive computer systems for music-making. This thesis presents the motivation, background context, mindbody concept development, research methodology, and the documentation and analysis of practical project work. Five interactive systems for music-making designed for this practical exploration are: 1) Vuzik, an interface for composing through painting gestures, 2) Womba, a musical instrument for a fetal child to play in in utero, 3) R-oboe, a system for digitally extending an oboe, 4) Mindsets, a system using brainwaves to transform an instrumentalist’s sound, and 5) Torrent, a system that musifies and physicalizes muscle tension. Four music compositions composed with these systems are: 1) Concordia discors for Vuzik interactive display and three ChoirMob instruments, 2) Being and Becoming for oboe and interactive electronics, 3) Mindsets for violin, brainwaves and digital signal processing, and 4) Torrent for flutes and water. This exploratory creative and design process also yielded a set of design heuristics for considering the mindbody in technology design, pertaining to 1) valuing and awareness of process, 2) integrating intention, action, and sound, and 3) whole-body engagement.
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