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Tuesday, June 5 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Paper 5.4

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Democratising DMIs: the Relationship of Expertise and Control Intimacy
by Robert H. Jack, Jacob Harrison, Fabio Morreale & Andrew P. McPherson

An oft-cited aspiration of digital musical instrument (DMI) design is to create instruments, in the words of Wessel and Wright, with a `low entry fee and no ceiling on virtuosity'. This is a difficult task to achieve: many new instruments are aimed at either the expert or amateur musician, with few instruments catering for both. There is often a balance between learning curve and the nuance of musical control in DMIs. In this paper we present a study conducted with non-musicians and guitarists playing guitar-derivative DMIs with variable levels of control intimacy: how the richness and nuance of a performer's movement translates into the musical output of an instrument. Findings suggest a significant difference in preference for levels of control intimacy between the guitarists and the non-musicians. In particular, the guitarists unanimously preferred the richest of the two settings whereas the non-musicians generally preferred the setting with lower richness. This difference is notable because it is often taken as a given that increasing richness is a way to make instruments more enjoyable to play, however, this result only seems to be true for expert players.

avatar for Andrew McPherson

Andrew McPherson

Reader, Queen Mary University of London|London||United Kingdom
avatar for Fabio Morreale

Fabio Morreale

Postdoctoral Researcher, Queen Mary University of London

Attendees (9)