Workshop on the T-Stick @CIRMMT

The T-Stick DMI

Composer/instrumentalist D. Andrew Stewart performing the soprano T-Stick.

On Saturday November 16, 2019, CIRMMT hosted a workshop on the T-Stick digital musical instrument. The workshop included presentations by myself, composer D. Andrew Stewart (the other originator of the T-Stick), Eduardo Meneses, Takuto Fukuda, Mathias Bredholt, and Mathias Kirkegaard. Presentations covered the history, design, and development of the instrument; mapping and performance practice; and current advances including embedding libmapper and algorithms for high-level gestural descriptors in the instrument firmware and the addition of programmable force-feedback hardware to the physical structure of the DMI.

The workshop also served to launch the 2019 T-Stick Creation Project, a new  program supporting composition for the T-Stick which will culminate in a concert performance in February 2020.

This workshop explores the development of compositional and performance practices for the T-Sticks—a family of gestural musical controllers designed to sense performer interactions such as touching, tapping, twisting, tilting, squeezing, and shaking. Joseph Malloch—the T-Stick designer (Dalhousie University)—and D. Andrew Stewart—composer/T-Stick instrumentalist (University of Lethbridge)—will discuss the instrument design and compositional possibilities for the T-Sticks, followed by a hands-on workshop for the practical use of the T-Stick, including how to set up, perform and notate. Finally, the workshop will include a report on the CIRMMT Student Award project, Between design, composition, and performance: expanding and embedding a high-level gesture vocabulary for the T-Stick, by Eduardo Meneses and Takuto Fukuda.

Vibrotactile feedback for the T-Stick DMI

Last year I took a fascinating seminar on haptics taught by Vincent Hayward of the Centre for Intelligent Machines at McGill University. For my final project I equipped the first of the soprano T-Sticks with a vibration actuator with controllable frequency, magnitude, and phase of vibration designed by Vincent and Hsin-Yun Yao. Inspired by a paper they published in Eurohaptics 2006, I adapted the T-Stick software to use vibration to create the illusion that there is a ball rolling inside the instrument – the details are described in the project report. Versions of the T-Stick DMI with programmable vibrotactile feedback will now be used both for performance and for research at McGill on Enactive Interfaces.

A diagram of the prototype vibrotactile T-Stick