Conference paper Open Access

On the Inclusivity of Constraint: Creative Appropriation in Instruments for Neurodiverse Children and Young People

Wright, Joe; Dooley, James

Taking inspiration from research into deliberately constrained musical technologies and the emergence of neurodiverse, child-led musical groups such as the Artism Ensemble, the interplay between design-constraints, inclusivity and appro- priation is explored. A small scale review covers systems from two prominent UK-based companies, and two itera- tions of a new prototype system that were developed in collaboration with a small group of young people on the autistic spectrum. Amongst these technologies, the aspects of musical experience that are made accessible differ with re- spect to the extent and nature of each system's constraints. It is argued that the design-constraints of the new prototype system facilitated the diverse playing styles and techniques observed during its development. Based on these obser- vations, we propose that deliberately constrained musical instruments may be one way of providing more opportuni- ties for the emergence of personal practices and preferences in neurodiverse groups of children and young people, and that this is a fitting subject for further research.

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