Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Studying how digital luthiers choose their tools

Renney, Nathan; Renney, Harri; Mitchell, Thomas J; Gaster, Benedict R


Harri Renney

Tom Mitchell
Professor of Audio and Music Interaction

Benedict Gaster
Associate Professor in Physical Computing


Digital lutherie is a sub-domain of digital craft focused on creating digital musical instruments: high-performance devices for musical expression. It represents a nuanced and challenging area of human-computer interaction that is well established and mature, offering the opportunity to observe designers' work on highly demanding human-computer interfaces. This paper explores how and why digital luthiers choose their tools and how these tools relate to the challenges they face. Findings from 27 standardised open-ended interviews with prominent digital luthiers from commercial, research, independent and artistic backgrounds are analysed through reflexive thematic analysis. Our discussion explores their perspectives , finding that a process of pragmatic rationalisation and environmental influences play a significant role in tool selection. We also present how challenges faced by digital luthiers relate to social creativity and meta-design. These findings build upon the existing literature that examines the designer-tool relationship.


Renney, N., Renney, H., Mitchell, T. J., & Gaster, B. R. (2022). Studying how digital luthiers choose their tools. .

Conference Name CHI '22: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Conference Location New Orleans LA USA
Start Date Apr 29, 2022
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 28, 2022
Publication Date 2022-04
Deposit Date May 10, 2022
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages 1-18
ISBN 9781450391573
Keywords CCS CONCEPTS • Human-centered computing → HCI theory, con- cepts and models; Interactive systems and tools; • Applied computing → Sound and music computing; KEYWORDS Digital Musical Instruments, Digital Luthier, Design Tools, Design Practice, Qual
Public URL
Publisher URL