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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Computer Music Journal (2021) 45 (3): 39–57.
Published: 01 September 2021
AbstractView article PDF
This article explores the ways specific hardware and software technologies influence the design of musical instruments. We present the outcomes of a compositional game in which music technologists created simple instruments using common sensors and the Pure Data programming language. We identify a clustering of stylistic approaches and design patterns, and we discuss these findings in light of the interactions suggested by the materials provided, as well as makers' technomusical backgrounds. We propose that the design of digital instruments entails a situated negotiation between designer and tools, wherein musicians react to suggestions offered by technology based on their previous experience. Likewise, digital tools themselves may have been designed through a similar situated negotiation, producing a recursive process through which musical values are transferred from the workbench to the instrument. Instead of searching for ostensibly neutral and all-powerful technologies, we might instead embrace and even emphasize the embedded values of our tools, acknowledging their influence on the design of new musical artifacts.