Dr. Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulos

The present project concerns the research in the design and the fabrication of very small, elegant simple to use embedded digital musical instruments. The scope is to design a small orchestra similar to a Gamelan Orchestra and explore it as a medium for social interaction . The percussion-type instruments will be plug-and-play and easy to use and explore them creatively without necessarily any musical background.

Research from a range of fields shows the importance of music in our everyday life and wellbeing, its therapeutic values for all ages as well as the importance of technology in music listening nowadays

(Theofilou, 2015) (the Guardian, 2016) (Croom, 2015) (Knox and MacDonald, 2015).

The social interaction however, of an inexperienced music performer – orchestras, bands etc, is what this research will be mostly focused on (D’Ausilio et al., 2015). Open designs of embedded musical instruments, allow the DIY fabrication and customisation to fit the performer’s needs. Easy to fabricate, easy to play, these musical instruments can form an orchestra of people who do not necessarily need to know how to read music. Can this new platform help people to consider performing music and being part of an orchestra? Easily accessible by the public, the Fab Labs around the world will play a significant role in contributing to this repository of open designs.

One could download their instrument, customise it and fabricate most of its parts in a local Fab Lab. This is a way to have easily accessible musical instruments for a global jamming session. This would form the basis of a successor project.

The digital component will be based on a brand new embedded platform for low-latency interactive audio called Bella designed in the centre for digital music in Queen Mary University of London : It is an emerging technology which could revolutionise embedded interactive audio and media practice in a similar way that the Arduino and Raspberry Pi did in the past decade. The advantage is the higher performance for audio and sensor processing, the graphic programming through Pure Data language, and the availability of many audio input/outputs.

Academic Conference Dissemination:

Game|lan: Co-Designing and Co-Creating an Orchestra of Digital Musical Instruments Within the Fab Lab Network, (2019). Linux Audio Conference 
at CCRMA, Stanford University (USA)