Video/Audio Open Access

Video figure: Exploring percussive gesture on iPads with Ensemble Metatone

Martin, Charles; Gardner, Henry; Swift, Ben

Rights holder(s)
Hopgood, Christina; Lam, Yvonne; Griffiths, Jonathan; Martin, Charles

This video figure shows Ensemble Metatone, a group of percussionist, exploring the possibilities of ensemble performance with two iPad apps, MetaTravels and MetaLonsdale. This process of rehearsal as research was subjected to qualitative analysis to characterise the performers touch gestures and ensemble interactions.

The abstract for the paper that accompanied this video is below:

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.

This paper examines Ensemble Metatone, a group formed to explore the "infiltration" of iPad-based musical instruments into a free-improvisation percussion ensemble. We 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.

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