The rapid development and availability of low-cost technologies have created a wide interest in virtual reality. In the field of computer music, the term “virtual musical instruments” has been used for a long time to describe software simulations, extensions of existing musical instruments, and ways to control them with new interfaces for musical expression. Virtual reality musical instruments (VRMIs) that include a simulated visual component delivered via a head-mounted display or other forms of immersive visualization have not yet received much attention. In this article, we present a field overview of VRMIs from the viewpoint of the performer. We propose nine design guidelines, describe evaluation methods, analyze case studies, and consider future challenges.

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