On hacking instruments

2015, Victor Zappi, Andrew McPherson

Many digital musical instruments (DMIs) are created every year, but very few of them have a long life and a wide diffusion. Even within the relatively small DMI performer community, it is common to see a beautifully crafted design being put aside when a new technology is made available. By contrast, familiar acoustic and electric instruments have acquired their current identity through generations of design revisions and performance practice. Why is it so common that even the best DMIs disappear after a few performances, or at best, are used in the longer term by only a handful of musicians? Continue reading

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Contemporary Instruments: Notes from a Bricoluthier

2015, Ken Butler

Given the constant output of large variety of sonic devices from contemporary technology, an important distinction in characterizing a contemporary musical instrument, in my mind, is the clarification of the overlap and characteristics of an “instrument” for making music and a “controller” for making sounds. Continue reading