Conference paper Open Access

Mechatronics-Driven Musical Expressivity for Robotic Percussionists

Yang, Ning; Savery, Richard; Sankaranarayanan, Raghavasimhan; Zahray, Lisa; Weinberg, Gil

Editor(s)
Michon, Romain; Schroeder, Franziska

Musical expressivity is an important aspect of musical performance for humans as well as robotic musicians. We present a novel mechatronics-driven implementation of Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) motors in a robotic marimba player, named ANON, designed to improve speed, dynamic range (loudness), and ultimately perceived musical expressivity in comparison to state-of-the-art robotic percussionist actuators. In an objective test of dynamic range, we find that our implementation provides wider and more consistent dynamic range response in comparison with solenoid-based robotic percussionists. Our implementation also outperforms both solenoid and human marimba players in striking speed. In a subjective listening test measuring musical expressivity, our system performs significantly better than a solenoid-based system and is statistically indistinguishable from human performers.
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