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Understanding user-defined mapping design in mid-air musical performance

Brown, Dom; Nash, Chris; Mitchell, Tom


Dominic Brown
Associate Lecturer - FET - CSCT - UCSC0000

Chris Nash
Senior Lecturer in Music Tech - Software Development

Tom Mitchell
Associate Professor in Creative Technologies


© 2018 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to Association for Computing Machinery. Modern gestural interaction and motion capture technology is frequently incorporated into Digital Musical Instruments (DMIs) to enable new methods of musical expression. A major topic of interest in this domain concerns how a performer's actions are linked to the production of sound. Some DMI developers choose to design these mapping strategies themselves, while others expose this design space to performers. This work explores the latter of these scenarios, studying the user-defined mapping strategies of a group of experienced mid-air musicians chosen from a rare community of DMI practitioners. Participants are asked to design mappings for a piece of music to determine what factors influence their choices. The findings reveal novice performers spend little time reviewing mapping choices, more time practising, and design mappings that adhere to musical metaphors. Experienced performers edit mappings continuously and focus on the ergonomics of their mapping designs.


Brown, D., Nash, C., & Mitchell, T. (2018). Understanding user-defined mapping design in mid-air musical performance.

Conference Name ACM International Conference Proceeding Series
Conference Location Genoa, Italy
Start Date Jun 28, 2018
End Date Jun 30, 2018
Acceptance Date Apr 19, 2018
Publication Date Jun 28, 2018
Deposit Date May 10, 2018
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9781450365048
Keywords digital musical instruments, mid-air interaction, mapping, user-defined interaction
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Movement Computing (MOCO 2018)