Exploring percussive gesture on iPads with Ensemble Metatone
Percussionists are unique among Western classical instrumentalists in that their artistic practice is defined by an approach to interaction rather than their instruments. While percussionists are accustomed to exploring non-traditional objects to create music, these objects have yet to encompass touch-screen computing devices to any great extent. The proliferation and popularity of these devices now presents an opportunity to explore their use in combining computer-generated sound together with percussive interaction in a musical ensemble.
In this talk, I will introduce Ensemble Metatone, a group formed to explore the ‘infiltration’ of iPad-based musical instruments into a free-improvisation percussion ensemble. I will discuss the design approach for two different iPad percussion instruments and the methodology for exploring them with the group over a series of rehearsals and performances. Qualitative analysis of discussions throughout this process shows that the musicians developed a vocabulary of gestures and musical interactions to make musical sense of these new instruments.