Les Gestes

Design study for the Rib and Visor digital musical instruments. Photograph by Foumalade.

Design study for the Rib and Visor digital musical instruments. Photograph by Foumalade.

Instrument conception: Joseph Malloch, Marlon Schumacher, Isabelle Van Grimde, Soula Trougakos, Sophie Breton
Instrument design and fabrication: Joseph Malloch, Ian Hattwick
Composition and mapping: Sean Ferguson and Marlon Schumacher
Choreography: Isabelle Van Grimde
Dancers: Soula Trougakos and Sophie Breton
Musicians: Aiyun Huang (percussion), Bryan Holt (cello), Marjolaine Lambert (violin), Elinor Frey (cello)
Costumes design: Pascale Bassani
Direction: Sean Ferguson (music), Isabelle Van Grimde (dance), Marcelo Wanderley (research)
Time period: 2011–2013

Les Gestes is a collaboration between three groups: the Input Devices and Music Interaction Laboratory (IDMIL), the Digital Composition Studios (DCS) – both at McGill University – and Montreal-based choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde and her dance troupe Van Grimde Corps Secrets. The goal of this research-creation project is to design and build a number of next-generation digital musical instruments for use by musicians and dancers. The project will result in the creation of a new large-scale collaborative work for musicians and dancers incorporating the scientific and technological developments. Based on expertise the team members have developed partly through the Digital Orchestra Project, we have identified a number of significant new opportunities for digital musical instrument design. It is only through having gone through the intensive research required to design, build, compose for and perform on a variety of different instruments in the past that we are able to identify these issues and to be able to conceive of solutions for the challenges they offer.

The specific issues we wish to address include:

  • New form factors appropriate for dance and musical performance, building on the T-Stick digital musical instrument
  • Mapping for digital signal processing
  • The incorporation of robust wireless data transfer between the devices and their associated computers
  • The use of vibrotactile feedback in the DMIs
  • The addition of integrated synthesis engines in the instruments themselves
  • The extension of our expertise in the relationship between gesture and musical sounds to the domain of dance.




Related Publications:

Joseph Malloch, Ian Hattwick, and Marcelo M. Wanderley. “Instrumented Bodies: Prosthetic Instruments for Music and Dance”. In A Framework and Tools for Mapping of Digital Musical Instruments, Ph.D. thesis, Music Technology, McGill University, Montréal, 2013.

Ian Hattwick, Joseph Malloch, and Marcelo M. Wanderley. “Forming Shapes to Bodies: Design for Manufacturing in the Prosthetic Instruments”. In Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME2014), pp. 443–448, London, UK, 2014.