13:20 - 2:20 (Posters and Demos)
Daphna Raz
University of Michigan
A foot-gesture controlled system for the performance of electroacoustic music
Often, performers of electroacoustic music must simultaneously play an instrument and control sound synthesis software on a laptop. However, currently available hands-free methods of controlling music software are woefully inadequate: examples include guitar stomp boxes, pedals, and foot-operated midi controllers. While somewhat reliable, these methods are limited in range, excessively bulky, and produce distracting noise during performance. This system seeks to improve on these methods by using an inertial measurement unit, mounted on the foot, to detect four carefully selected foot gestures. These gestures, designed together with an athletic trainer, are comfortable to execute for a range of body types and are differentiable from gestures that occur naturally during performance. The gestures are used for both discreet and continuous control over software processes. For preliminary analysis, a pilot study in a real-world environment was conducted: three performers, including the author, presented a formal performance of electroacoustic music featuring the gesture-controlled system. Prior to the performance, gesture data was collected from each performer to increase the accuracy of the gesture detection algorithm. Based on in-performance measurements of gesture detection accuracy, performer feedback, and audience reaction, this system shows potential for widespread use in a range of musical contexts.
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