Using Expressive Musical Robots: Working with an Ensemble of New Mechatronic Instruments

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  • Using Expressive Musical Robots: Working with an Ensemble of New Mechatronic Instruments

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Abstract:

  • Abstract (long paper)

    This paper presents the first qualitative user study focusing on composers’ experiences in working with musical robots. Increasingly complicated mechatronic musical instruments have resulted in an increasing number of expressive affordances exposed to users. As the mechatronic instruments grow more complicated, they potentially become more difficult to use, necessitating some form of mapping scheme. This paper seeks to evaluate the mapping schemes employed by a number of parametrically-rich musical robots (including a two mechatronic chordophones, a mechatronic harmonium, and a high degree-of-freedom mechatronic drum player). The user study’s findings indicate that multiple mappings must be made available for each instrument, allowing for both rapid compositional prototyping and for finer-grained control over musical nuance of these electronic artworks.