Ph.D. dissertation

My Ph.D. dissertation A Framework and Tools for Mapping of Digital Musical Instruments is available – contact me if you would like an electronic copy.

Digital musical instruments (DMIs) are typically composed of an interface using some type of sensor technology, and real-time media synthesis algorithms running on a digital computer. The connections between various input signals from performer interaction and the parameters of synthesis must be artificially associated – this mapping of gesture to sound or other media defines the behaviour of the system as a whole. Mapping design is a challenging and sometimes frustrating process.

In this dissertation, the design and implementation of an open-source, cross-platform software library and several related tools for supporting the mapping task are presented. These tools are designed to provide discovery and interconnection between parts of DMIs and other interactive systems, and to achieve compatibility through translation and transformation of data representations rather than imposing representation standards. The control parameters of software and hardware devices compliant with libmapper can be freely interconnected without requiring any intended mutual compatibility.

Among the unique features presented is support for mapping between systems that include entities with multiple instances with dynamic lifetimes, systems which would usually require bespoke programming. A formalization of the problem is described, and several examples of real-world applications are outlined.

Finally, use-cases for the mapping tools are presented in-depth: the design, development and use of novel digital musical instruments for live performance.

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