Virtual-Acoustic Instrument Design: Exploring the Parameter Space of a String-Plate Model

Sandor Mehes, Maarten van Walstijn and Paul Stapleton

This paper was originally presented at NIME17 Copenhagen, Denmark


Exploration is an intrinsic element of designing and engaging with acoustic as well as digital musical instruments. This paper reports on the ongoing development of an explorative virtual-acoustic instrument based on simulation of the vibrations of a string coupled nonlinearly to a plate. The performer drives the model by tactile interaction with a string-board controller fitted with piezo-electric sensors. The string-plate model is formulated in a way that prioritises its parametric explorability. Where the roles of creating performance gestures and designing instruments are traditionally separated, such a design provides a continuum across these domains, with retainment of instrument physicality. The string-plate model, its real-time implementation, and the control interface are described, and the system is preliminarily evaluated through informal observations of how musicians engage with the system.


Sound Examples

The system was made available for a few hours to four musicians of varying background and experience, each of whom produced a short piece of music.