Designing for intimacy: creating new interfaces for musical expression

TitleDesigning for intimacy: creating new interfaces for musical expression
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsFels, S.
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Pagination672 - 685
Date Publishedapr.
Keywordsaesthetics, human computer interaction, Iamascope, image processing, musical expression, musical instrument design, musical instruments, musician/player, sound sculpting, Tooka, user interfaces

Contemporary musical instrument design using computers provides nearly limitless potential for designing the mapping between gesture and sound. When designing effective and expressive musical instruments, the types of relationship between musician/player and his instrument and the aesthetics of the relationships must be considered. This paper discusses four types of relationships and their aesthetics. A high degree of intimacy is achieved when the relationship reaches a level where the mapping between control and sound is transparent to the player, that is, the player embodies the device. Ultimately, this type of relationship allows intent and expression to flow through the player to the sound and, hence, create music. Three new interfaces for musical expression, the Iamascope, Sound Sculpting and Tooka, provide examples of how instruments may be designed to develop and explore intimacy and embodiment of new musical instruments.


a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Electrical and Computer Engineering
2332 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z4
Tel +1.604.822.2872
Fax +1.604.822.5949

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright 2021 The University of British Columbia