Published June 1, 2020 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Surface Electromyography for Direct Vocal Control


This paper introduces a new method for direct control using the voice via measurement of vocal muscular activation with surface electromyography (sEMG). Digital musical interfaces based on the voice have typically used indirect control, in which features extracted from audio signals control the parameters of sound generation, for example in audio to MIDI controllers. By contrast, focusing on the musculature of the singing voice allows direct muscular control, or alternatively, combined direct and indirect control in an augmented vocal instrument. In this way we aim to both preserve the intimate relationship a vocalist has with their instrument and key timbral and stylistic characteristics of the voice while expanding its sonic capabilities. This paper discusses other digital instruments which effectively utilise a combination of indirect and direct control as well as a history of controllers involving the voice. Subsequently, a new method of direct control from physiological aspects of singing through sEMG and its capabilities are discussed. Future developments of the system are further outlined along with usage in performance studies, interactive live vocal performance, and educational and practice tools.



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2220-4806 (ISSN)