Oliver Hödl

researcher

Oliver Linus

musician

Trombosonic - A New Digital Music Instrument

The "Trombosonic" is a new digital music instrument based on the foundational principles of the slide trombone. An ultrasonic sensor combined with a red laser allows the performer to play the instrument using similar movements to playing a trombone to change the pitch, by moving one hand back and forth even though there is no physical slider available. Furthermore, additional sensors enhance musical expression by gestural movement of the whole interface and by using the breath. Due to its compact size and the lack of a slider, the Trombosonic can be played in many different ways.

Originally the Trombosonic was designed for musicians to play external synthesizers in various embodied ways. However, exploratory studies have shown the potential applicability of the prototype in different fields and settings other than music. Hence, a certain suitability for old and young people and a new possibility for people with restricted mobility to play such a musical instrument was identified.

This first prototype is fully functional and featured in various live performances and showcases already. Further development might include a built-in microphone to use the human voice and an expansion of the synthesizer's features.

Live Performances and Showcases

TU Orchester - Uraufführung Akademische Festouvertüre von Dietmar Hellmich

TU Wien, December 2015

Wissenschaftsseminar

Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien, Oktober 2014

EPILOG

Fakultät für Informatik, TU Wien, Juni 2014

Lange Nacht der Forschung

TU Wien, March 2014

Galaabend der Technik

TU Wien, March 2014

International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions

Digital World, Barcelona, Spain, March 2014

Festival Wiener Musik-Experimente

TU Wien, February 2014

Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition

Georgia Tech, Atlanta, USA, April 2013

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Related Videos

Publications directly related to the Trombosonic

Trombosonic: Designing and Exploring a New Interface for Musical Expression in Music and Non-Music Domains

Oliver Hödl, Geraldine Fitzpatrick

[Abstract show/hide][Download PDF]

The "Trombosonic" is a new digital music instrument based on the foundational principles of the slide trombone. An ultrasonic sensor combined with a red laser allows the performer to play the instrument using similar movements to playing a trombone to change the pitch, by moving one hand back and forth even though there is no physical slider available. Furthermore, additional sensors enhance musical expression by gestural movement of the whole interface and by using the breath. Due to its compact size and the lack of a slider, the Trombosonic can be played in many different ways. This inspired us to do an informal evaluation to explore the potential applicability of our prototype in different fields and settings other than music. We identified a certain suitability for old and young people and a new possibility for people with restricted mobility to play such a musical instrument. Further development might include a built-in microphone to use the human voice and an expansion of the synthesizer's features.

The Seventh International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, Barcelona, Spain. 2014.

Exploring the Digital Music Instrument Trombosonic with Extreme Users and at a Participatory Performance

Oliver Hödl, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Simon Holland

[Abstract show/hide][Download PDF]

We introduce the "Trombosonic" as a new digital music instrument inspired by the slide trombone. An ultrasonic sensor combined with a red laser allows the performer to play the instrument using similar movements to playing a trombone to change the pitch, despite the absence of a physical slider, by moving one hand back and forth. Additional sensors enhance the potential for musical expression by movement of the whole interface and by using the breath. We identify and discuss a variety of design issues arising from the Trombosonic. Due to its compact size and the lack of a slider, the Trombosonic can be played in many different ways. In order to explore varied potential uses of the Trombosonic, we carried out a series of informal evaluations. These included experts in new musical instruments, an older user, a younger user, an interaction design expert, and the audience at an experimental concert with audience participation. Future work is also discussed. Further technical development might include a built-in microphone to use the human voice and an expansion of the synthesizer’s features.

International Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems, vol 7 no 3 & 4, 2014. pp. 439-449

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