Felt Sound: A Shared Musical Experience for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
We present a musical interface specifically designed for inclusive performance that offers a shared experience for both individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as those who are not. This interface borrows gestures (with or without overt meaning) from American Sign Language (ASL), rendered using low-frequency sounds that can be felt by everyone in the performance. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing cannot experience the sound in the same way. Instead, they are able to physically experience the vibrations, nuances, contours, as well as its correspondence with the hand gestures. Those who are not hard of hearing can experience the sound, but also feel it just the same, with the knowledge that the same physical vibrations are shared by everyone. The employment of sign language adds another aesthetic dimension to the instrument --a nuanced borrowing of a functional communication medium for an artistic end.