The T-Stick

Participants: Joseph Malloch, D. Andrew Stewart, Marcelo M. Wanderley
Time period: 2005–present

The T-Sticks are a family of gestural musical controllers. The first prototype (a tenor) was completed in 2006, a second (alto) T-Stick was completed in early 2007. The hardware is presently in its third revision and approximately twenty more T-Sticks have been built, including several prototypes integrating haptic feedback and additional sensing modalities.

The T-Stick grew out of a collaborative project undertaken by Joseph Malloch and composer D. Andrew Stewart, partially funded by a CIRMMT student award, and also out of collaboration with performers as part of the McGill Digital Orchestra project. The T-Stick has been performed and demonstrated many times internationally, including appearances in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, and the USA.

The T-Stick can sense where and how much of it is touched, tapping, twisting, tilting, squeezing, and shaking. The output of the sensors is sent over USB to Max/MSP software, which processes the data and maps it to sound synthesis parameters.

The T-Stick is intended to be an “expert” musical interface: engaging to new users, allowing virtuosic playing, and “worth practicing” in that practice time results in increased skill.


Related Pages:

Related Publications:

Joseph Malloch. “A Framework and Tools for Mapping of Digital Musical Instruments”. Ph.D. thesis, Music Technology, McGill University, Montréal, 2013.

D. Andrew Stewart and Joseph Malloch. “Everybody to the power of one, for soprano T-Stick”. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA 2010). ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp 3093–3096, 2010.

D. Andrew Stewart. “Catching Air and the Superman” D.Mus. Thesis, McGill University, Montreal, 2010.

Xenia Pestova, Erika Donald, Heather Hindman, Joseph Malloch, Mark T. Marshall, Fernando Rocha, Stechen Sinclair, D. Andrew Stewart, Marcelo M. Wanderley, and Sean Ferguson. “The CIRMMT/McGill Digital Orchestra Project”. In Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC09), pp. 295–298, Montreal, Qc., Canada, 2009.

Joseph Malloch and Marcelo M. Wanderley. “The T-Stick: From Musical Interface to Musical Instrument.” In Proceedings of the 2007 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME07), New York City, USA, pp. 66–69, 2007.

Joseph Malloch. “A Consort of Gestural Musical Controllers: Design, Construction, and Performance”, M.A. thesis, McGill University, 2007.

Unpublished Reports:

Joseph Malloch and D. Andrew Stewart. Project report and renewal application, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT), 2006.

Joseph Malloch and D. Andrew Stewart. “Project Proposal: Creation of a New Digital Instrument”, Joint Interdisciplinary Research Project Proposal, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT), 2005.

Partial list of Public Appearances:

Date Type Event Location
2006/04 concert seminar concert Montreal, Canada
2006/11 recital Fernando Rocha DMus lecture recital Montreal, Canada
2007/06 presentation New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference New York, USA
2007/09 demonstrations Wired Nextfest Low Angeles, USA
2008/02 demonstrations Innovaction Udine, Italy
2008/03 concert MusiMars Festival Montreal, Canada
2008/04 concert Music+Technology Incubator Montreal, Canada
2008/07 concert, workshop Sound Symposium St. John’s, Canada
2008/09 concert Le Vivier relaunch Montreal, Canada
2008/10 concerts Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur Montreal, Canada
2009/02 competition Guthman competition Atlanta, USA
2009/07 workshop SMC Summer School, used T-Stick to control robotic Gamelan Porto, Portugal
2009/08 concert International Computer Music Conference Montreal, Canada
2009/10 workshop Society for Music Theory, workshop on listening through time Montreal, Canada
2009/12 concert live@CIRMMT Montreal, Canada
2010/04 concert ACM CHI Conference Atlanta, USA
2010/04 concert Viagem, 5 T-Sticks played by blind performers Porto, Portugal
2010/07 workshops launch of 2010 T-Stick Composition Workshops Montreal, Canada
2010/08 talk, performance Expansive Spirits, Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium Toronto, Canada
2010/12 talk Electronic Music Foundation New York, USA
2011/02 concert Ghost in the Machine Conference Montreal, Canada
2011/03 concert Concerto for T-Stick and two laptop orchestras, Concordia Laptop Orchestra and Cybernetic Orchestra Montreal, Canada
2011/04 concert Open Ears Festival Kitchener, Canada
2011/05 concert Issue Project Room New York, USA
2011/05 concert New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference Oslo, Norway
2011/06 concerts Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte, Brazil
2011/06 concert Sforzando Late Night Concert, Electroacoustic Music Studies Network New York, USA
2011/11 concert Sea of Sound Festival Edmonton, Canada
2012/03 concert Experimental Music from Brazil and Beyond Lethbridge, Canada
2012/06 concert Concierto, Andrew Stewart y Ensemble 3 Mexico
2012/09 concert Moving Sound, Electroacoustic works by D. Andrew Stewart and Rolf Boon Lethbridge, Canada
2012/11 concert 24 Frames, Improvisation with Tim Brady Lethbridge, Canada
2013/03 concert From Up There and Down, New Works Calgary Calgary, Canada
2013/05 concert New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference Daejeon, South Korea
2013/09 concert Percussive Arts Society International Convention Indianapolis, USA