/ Adaptive Music Technology: History and Future Perspectives
~ICMC 2015 - Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2015 - CEMI, University of North Texas Adaptive Music Technology: History and Future Perspectives Kimberlee Graham-Knight University of Victoria kimberleegk@gmail.com ABSTRACT Computer music technology opens new possibilities in the design of new musical instruments for physically disabled musicians. The field of adaptive music technology has been relatively unexplored in the computer music literature. In this paper, we provide an overview of existing work in this field, and describe in more detail two representative examples. Informed by this overview we propose a set of principles for how to work with a disabled participant to develop a new musical instrument. We hope that these principles will help stimulate and evolve future work in the field of adaptive music technology. 1. INTRODUCTION The field of adaptive music technology has been growing since the late 1980s. Before that, advances in adaptive technology (such as electric wheelchairs) and music technology (such as the Theremin) laid the ground work for the field. The field is important because it provides a way for people with physical disabilities to play music they could not otherwise play [1]. It opens up music making to many people who would otherwise not be able to participate. Benefits of music making for the disabled can include increased selfawareness, increased agency, and increased control [2]. Because it is so important to develop new instruments that people with disabilities can play, it's key to develop a set of considerations to use when making a new instrument. This can be done by evaluating cases of pre-existing adaptive musical instruments and how they were developed, as well as by surveying some of the literature about adaptive music technology. Adaptive music technology can be defined as the use of digital technologies to allow a person who cannot otherwise play a traditional musical instrument, to play music unaided. The term assistive music technology has been used in much literature [3], but the word 'assistance' implies an external source that provides aid to a person in need. In contrast, 'adaptive' implies a constant state of refinement, and an adjustment to the situation of the musician. Copyright: ~ 2015 Graham-Knight et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. George Tzanetakis University of Victoria gtzan@uvic.ca 2. BACKGROUND Robert Moog notes there are "three diverse deterninants of musical instrument design and musical instrument structure. The first is the sound generator; the second is the interface between the musician and the sound generator; the third is the... visual reality of the instrument [4]." It is useful to look at the technologies that have led up to the design of the adaptive musical instruments listed in Table 1. Perhaps the single biggest development that has made adaptive music technology possible is the advent of MIDI in 1983. This allowed for rapid and simple transport of musical commands. Shortly after that development instruments such as the Soundbeam, which uses a sonar beam that triggers MIDI events when interrupted, and the Magic Flute, which triggers MIDI notes using a breath pressure sensor, began to be introduced. Other adaptive musical instruments that use MIDI include the Head=Space, the Doozaphone, the Jamboxx, the Yamaha WX5, the Canstrument, the Dimension Beam, the MidiCreator/MidiGesture/MidiSensor, the Optivideotone, the Synth-A-Beams, the Skoog and the AUMI. The makers of the Soundbeam cite the Thereminovox as an ancestor and inspiration. Indeed, the idea of a no-touch instrument makes sense for many disabilities. Instruments such as Moog's Ethervox have evolved from both the Theremin and from MIDI. Another important development for certain touchless sensors is sonar. This was developed to aid in underwater tracking and detection at large distances, and is used in many adaptive instruments because it is very robust. Some touchless sensors, such as the Microsoft Kinect, use infrared light [5]. The Kinect contains an infrared transmitter and, right beside it on the camera, a receiver. When the light is emitted, it bounces off three-dimensional shapes, then returns to the sensor. The angle of refraction of the light allows the Kinect to compose a three-dimensional image of the world in its view. Breath pressure sensors contain a membrane that has a pressure differential across it when blown into. The ones made for the use of disabled humans typically have a range of 0 to 1.5psi. Quadriplegics often lose lung capacity due to inactivity, so breath pressure sensors incorporated into instruments may actually increase lung capacity with use over time. -416 -
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