the deconstructed violin reconstructed
Traditional musical instruments provide compelling metaphors for human-computer interfacing, both in terms of input (physical, gestural performance activities) and output (sound diffusion). The violin, one of the most refined and expressive of traditional instruments, combines a peculiar physical interface with a rich acoustic diffuser. We have built a new instrument that includes elements of both the violin’s physical performance interface and its spatial filtering audio diffuser, yet eliminates both the resonating body and the strings. The instrument, BoSSA (Bowed-Sensor-Speaker-Array), is an amalgamation and extension of our previous work with violin interfaces, physical models, and directional tonal radiation studies. In addition to describing the various physical and software elements that make up BoSSA, we discuss some of its musical features and potentials; we are particularly impressed by the sense of presence and intimacy it provides, and by its potential for creating a new kind of electronic chamber music.
Winner, Best Paper Award, International Computer Music Conference, 1999