This article contributes a holistic conceptual framework for the notion of “mapping” that extends the classical view of mapping as parameter association. In presenting this holistic approach to mapping techniques, we apply the framework to existing works from the literature as well as to new implementations that consider this approach in their construction. As any mapping control structure for a given digital instrument is determined by the musical context in which it is used, we present musical examples that relate the relatively abstract realm of mapping design to the physically and perceptually grounded notions of control and sonic gesture. Making this connection allows mapping to be more clearly seen as a linkage between a physical action and a sonic result. In this sense, the purpose of this work is to translate the discussion on mapping so that it links an abstract and formalized approach—intended for representation and conceptualization—with a viewpoint that considers mapping in its role as a perceived correspondence between physical materials (i.e., those that act on controllers and transducers) and sonic events. This correspondence is, at its heart, driven by our cognitive and embodied understanding of the acoustic world.

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