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To m va n t W e st e i n d e s104815 D e s ig n i ng a G ro u p M us ic I m p rov i s at io n Syst e m

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Ta b l e o f C o nt e nt 1. Introduction

1.1 Me Myself and I 1.2 Construction of the report 1.3 The project

2. Explorations

2.1 Pressure Cooker 2.2 Research

3. Elaboration 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4

Integrating Technology Conceptualisation Interview I Interview II

4. Mid-term

4.1 Kinect, Processing, MAX/msp

5 6 7

9 10

13 15 16 17

5. Musicionet 5.1 Designing 5.2 Making 5.3 Final Concept

6. Closure

6.1 Conclusion 6.2 Reflection 6.3. Acknowledgements

7. References 7.1 Sources

23 25 30

33 34 35





m e my s e l f a n d I This title summarizes pretty good how I thought this project would be in the first place. Since we surprisingly fast decided that each member of our group would be doing their individual project I had to adapt my expectations for this project. I chose this project because of my passion for music. That means yes, I am an musician. I have been making music for more than twelve years and I also have the necessary theoretical background. But making a musical instrument from a musicians point of view or from an industrial designers point of view is not quite the same. I discovered that pretty well during this semester. It meant that choosing for this project was not as simple as actually doing such a project.

This new experimental project in a theme called “Out of Control” required a lot of commitment and cooperation. Especially on that second point we could have had some more improvement. Because of the quick separation of all the students within the music project we had many slow starts in motivation, stimulation, and self-organization. However, this did not kept all the individuals to show their best abilities, but still, we were just more individuals than a group. Right there I was, as an individual and an experienced musician but as a starting designer who was going to make a musical instrument. And not just an instrument. The project was called ‘Designing a Group Music Improvisation System’ for a reason; our personal touch.

How could we, and especially I as a designer, create an instrument that could be both influential and be influenced through improvisation. And with that, how could we make an instrument that would fit within the 21th century. So this time I started, without team leader and without a group, but just me, myself and I.

Name: Tom van ‘t Westeinde Year: B2.1 Age: 20


c o n st r u c t i o n o f t h e r e p o rt As can be seen from the structure of the table of content, this report is a representation of the development of the project in time. After this introductory chapter, each chapter of the report will represent a phase of the project in a chronological sequence. Starting from a explorative


pressure cooker and general research going to technological experiments and concrete research. This lead into the first concept supported by explanatory text and images. From that point the report continues with the improvements, considerations of this concept and the reversal of

affairs turning into the elaboration of a complete new and final concept. After the conclusion and recommendations there will be a personal reflection on the project, which will describe the ups and downs, learning moments and pleasure this project has brought.

T h e p r oj e c t Designing a Group Music Improvisation System was already a mouthful of information about the intention of the project. In the opening presentation of the semester every meaningful word of this project title was explicitly explained including examples, guidelines, and challenges. With this project the aim was to design for a setting in which people can express themselves while being part of a self-directing, co-creating, musical organism.Therewith the challenge would be to design interactive musical instruments that are specifically aimed at ‘the whole’ rather than ‘the sum of the parts’. As said before; the musician should be able to control someone

else’s instrument or even the entire group. As if that wasn’t enough the instrument should allow musical expression, invite for interaction and not be screen based. This process was guided through experiential exploration in the form of jam sessions. To succeed in making or even understand this musical organism the group should behave as a system their selves.

music making. Second, the sub-group ‘section’ loop, in where you communicate within a small group of musicians and finally the band-sized ‘whole’ loop. Here the final interaction between all the instrument had to become visible. All this together should result in an improvisation wherein the individuals shift form as a consequence of being in different musical roles. It was clear that the theme Out of Control got to add another challenging project to its list.

Furthermore the final group music improvisation had to incorporate in three feedback-loops. The so-called individual ‘instrumentalist’ loop, in where the musician gets feedback on its own



Pressure Cooker So far in my education to become an industrial designer it really suites me to do a pressure cooker. It provides a good introduction to the project and also for getting back in track with the design process. After teaming up with a few other students from the music project we started to do some explorations. One of us brought some rhythmic instruments and very soon we were able to generate different rhythms with instruments, voice and hands of different daily objects. This lead to the discussion of the importance of rhythm and its relationship with the other important building blocks of music. We quickly discovered that talking about what music, harmony, melody and rhythm would not help to get the feeling of making music. And it would definitely not help us get the feeling of making a musical instrument. Therefore we went out to the city of Eindhoven to buy all kinds of stuff that we could use to make sound. We came back with all kinds of materials varying from a bucket and balloons to different types of glasses. From scratch we build different rhythmic and melodic instruments. Simple glasses with different water levels did fine as drums

together with the bucket and the crystal glass with water suited perfect for some harmonic influence. We searched for a quit place to make voice and video recording and started our mini jam session. During this jam session we tried to implement the information we got from the presentation. We tried to work with different leaders and how they could influence the other musicians. What I found interesting was the way how easily one adapts on the other if there was a rhythmical change. Although not everyone was even musical skilled, this kind of change was for everyone noticeable. Furthermore I also liked in what way sounds go together with visual change. Especially with the crystal glass it was nice to see how the water in the glass responded to the vibrations of the glass that caused the music. All together this pressure cooker became a more experimental exploration and was more intuitive than scheduled. However this made it a for me a good introduction to the essence of music and experiencing making music together.



I n s p i r at i o n The origin of my first inspirational research was based on the experiences as a musician in an orchestra and band. In the years that I make music I always felt that there is a strong connection between making the music and the body movement that comes with it. Together with my triggered interest in the visual aspect from the pressure cooker I started to dive into this interesting aspect of making music. After the basic Wikipedia searches for music making and body movement [1][2] I came across some interesting TED talks, including the one of Mark Applebaum[3]. Mark Applebaum is a composer and inventor who breaks the rules in fantastic ways. He composed a concerto for a florist and crafts musical instruments from junk and found objects. This experimental way of making instruments with all kinds of stuff was in a way the sense an important part of my project. Especially the way how to music was created and what kind of sound it created made him a mad scientist of music. From this TED talk I came in the direction of communication and how this relates to body language and movement. Of course there is a lot of unconscious body language involved in a normal conversation. But in making music this exercise is enhanced to a more visual and noticeable level. Applebaum stated that music is as a journey of emotions. Musicians have the ability to feel these emotions and express that feeling through an instrument. From my personal experience I can add to that, no matter how technical skilled a musician is, if they do not express


the musical emotion, the music is much less valuable. Another TED talk I found very interesting what the one from conductor Benjamin Zander[4]. With his passion for classical music helps people realize the untapped love for new possibilities, new experiences and new connections. He visualized how body movement goes together with the learning process of a learning pianist. Your impulses evolve while learning music. The phrases of music are translated in to pulses who together tell a story. If you link this to a conductor you can see that he or she will never make a sound. A conductor is depending on his strength of his ability to make other people powerful. As a maestro he awakes the possibilities of his musicians by leading through body language. As a follow up on this topic I also watched the documentary that was called “Masterclass dirigeren”.[5] In this three-part documentary chiefconductor Mariss Jansons teaches three young talented conductors getting started with “ Het Concertgebouworkest”. This material is a perfect illustration of the fascinating interaction between a conductor and the orchestra. All the relations between expression, communication, dynamics, atmosphere, sensitivity, color, tempo and emotion are pointed out. Mariss Jansons explains with a highly refined form of expertise how the amount and size of the expression is decisive for the sound, and how the movements are taken over by the orchestra when you make a sudden change in facial expression. He highlights the importance of the energy you need to

have with every musician, and how you have to give inspiration to take want you want while conducting. All together these materials helped me shaping the direction of my interest within my project. It was clear that I wanted to do something with the focus on body language, movement, and communication.




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I nt e g r at i n g T e c h n o lo g y The first advantage of doing an individual project for me was to make my own competency oriented planning. Since integrating technology was on my to do list for a long time I finally could getting started with electronics. I had no prior knowledge to LEDs, resistors, Arduino, and the only thing I ever managed to do in Processing was to move a blue car from

one to the other corner. This meant that I had to start from scratch. I discovered that the best way to do this is experimentation.As a first step I lent some basic electronics and an Arduino. Together with the first basic tutorials of this microcontroller I managed to get my first LEDs blinking. Of course this had nothing to do with making music, but it was a start. After I got the hang of it I bought my own Arduino, including a breadboard, hookup wire, some fancy sensors and a small speaker. I continued following tutorials, and together with making new circuits I started to think of implementations.


But he first jam session was approaching so I had to translated my technological findings into small concepts. I managed to get my flex sensor working together with several LEDs. To use the input I got from the sensors for sound, instead of LEDs, I connected the speaker to the Arduino. The first noise of the semester was a fact. I combined the flex sensor with a distance sensor to get multiple inputs, and therefore multiple influences on the output. I integrated the flex sensor in a bendable piece of plastic which I then could move above the distant sensor. As said before, both inputs now could influence the output

from the speaker and my first ‘instrument’ was born. Although the output was not really what you expect from a musical instrument, unless you like scratching nails on a chalkboard, I made a start with my practical implementation. I smoothed the input and both the influence of the sensors were noticeable. The flex sensor in the plastic influenced the lower pitch, and while you bended the plastic and thus the sensor you could influence the sound. The distance sensor was for the higher pitch, and both together could be used to take the lead over the noisy tone that was generated.

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C o n c e pt u a l i s at i o n So I until now I had gathered a lot of information from researching and experimenting. It was time to shape this information into a more concrete idea. To do so, I want back to pen and paper and started to visualize and connect the information in a schematic way. I visualized how the different musical expression like tempo, dynamics and articulation were communicated. Therefore I linked different body movements with the beat patters and cueing of a conductor and how the maestro uses these gesture to express articulation. With that as a starting point I sketched some quick concepts. Of course the general theme in these concepts were body language and communication. I got inspired by the STEIM Space Pallet. This instrument generated music by moving your hands around in a circular plate with holes in different shapes. I linked this on

the distance sensor I worked with before. Another idea with the distance sensor was to put many of them in a tubular system in which you could play together. An idea for the flex sensor, combined with the flex sensor was to make a kind of long plastically deformable ropes, hanging on the ceiling in the room. This meant that you have to move around the room to influence music while deforming and squeezing the ropes. That concept was mainly based on the first experiment with the electronics. Furthermore I had a concept that was based on a kind of hula Hoop in which you have to shift circular tiles to influence the music by moving around. Finally I had a small concept that was based on the properties of fabrics. It had to become a textile ball that was sensitive for the way how it was deformed. In this way multiple people could influence sounds together.


I nt e rv i e w 1 In the context of self-organization, my project colleague Joanne, arranged a meeting with a jazz musician. In jazz music improvisation is a common part of the performance, which automatically matches it to our project. Joanne and I set up some points to discuss, the rest of the conversation would proceed while talking. Together with Gilles and Joanne I visited Sytze Kalisvaart in the auditorium of the TNO building on the campus. After getting lunch we started off with an introduction. We immediately kicked off with an introduction to improvisation. He states that improvisation can be approached in many different ways. The right mixture for that, and the starting point for that, varies per person. There is a theory that is based on chords, but you can also play on what you hear. This is something you can train very well. When playing on the chords, you improvise based on the scales you can learn, and which you have to know by hard. If you rehearse this if it is like a top sport, improvising becomes automatic. Repetition makes it therefore more spontaneous. For me it was important how improvisation is arranged


in a group and who is the one that takes the lead. Sytze answered that in a big band sometimes a conductor is involved who sort of nods to the instrumentalist but most of the time they arranged it on forehand. However, within small settings musicians can anticipate very well on each other. In this case the atmosphere is very crucial for the way that is improvised. Furthermore there is a lot of communication between musicians that is based on hearing and looking at each other. Soloists pass on their solo to the next soloist by taking over the melody. In this way you get a back and forth interaction with a lot of communication. He adds to this that it is interesting when you put this communication in technology, and if the musicians will appreciate this. It is very important for musicians that they have control over their instrument. Because the kick of improvisation is showing your capabilities technology should not take away this control. The goal is then to go to the border of your limits through build up the tension with your own interpretation. He further submits to this that improvisation is also about impression and atmosphere. A performance can

be colored through your expression and the emotion that comes from that. Subsequently I asked if this emotion is an extension of your physical expression and how it is used while making music. This of course in relation to the concepts I was working on. Sytze answers to this that it is natural for most musicians to move while making music but only when you have done conservatory you will be taught something they call stage presentation. This focuses on how people stand on a stage and what they express. The traditional reaction to this in jazz music was that the person wants to hide that he or she cannot play that good. However, nowadays this phenomenon is much more a part of the whole performance. For example someone like Candy Dulfer who really uses the whole stage and therefore her whole body to perform. He ends with giving some examples or orchestras that are using various methods of conducting like they let the public conduct. Summarized this interview was useful addition in the process of designing a group music improvisation system.

In the search of more professional opinions Joanne and I prepared an interview for three musicians from “Het Brabants Orkestâ€?. They were performing in the centrum of Eindhoven and were allowed to attend to the concert after where we could ask a couple of questions. It was amazing to see how all the things that you have reviewed in the first few weeks, become visible when visiting a concert like that. Normally I am a part of (a much smaller) orchestra. This time I had a great overview over an extensive symphonic orchestra in which all the connections between the musicians and the conductor became visible. As well as the movements the instrumentalist make while playing music. After the concert we first spoke with trombonist Mark Boonstra. He was a professional musician and already part of the orchestra for a considerable time. He answered the first basic questions about his education and the orchestra where after we continued with the more relevant questions. He described in detail how he experiences the feedback loops within as section as well as with the rest of the orchestra. He states that has the most connection with his surrounding musicians. One of them is in contact with the conductor. On the question if he physically express himself while making music he answers that for him this come natural while making music but that he does not uses this much in the communication of the feedback loops. The next musician, contrabass player Wolf Eekhof, adds to this that the size of instrument is very important for the way how a musician can express its movement. He says that he mainly translates the phrasing of the music into his movements. Although he is also not using it for communication he says that the conductor movements for dynamics and articulation are crucial. Finally we end with clarinetist CĂŠleste Zewald. She adds to her colleagues that within her section, because they are seated pretty far in the back, that movement is used for communication. This is again because one of the musicians has to most contact with the conductor. In the corner of their eyes they can see if they have to respond to a sudden change. Together with the information from the interview, what I saw during the concert and the concepts I had, I wanted to work some movements. I did this by sketching body positions and thinking about matching forms of dynamics and articulation.

I nt e rv i e w 2



K inect Process ing p

In context of my quest to develop integrating technology I decided that I wanted to work with the Kinect from Microsoft. Because I worked with it in an earlier project I knew of its possibilities although I never made it to a programming level. The Kinect was for me the ideal device when it comes to using body movement as digital input. Also because of this earlier project it was easy for me to get a Kinect and it was also easy for me to get in touch with people to help me get started. The first step in this challenging process was to get the Kinect working together with Processing on a PC, instead of an XBOX, which is normally the device it is connected to. This required a little bit more programming language then for some simple sensors to make sound. The Kinect requires three proper installed libraries [6][7][8] combined with a processing code. All of this is Open Source software and can be found around the web. This means that there are also a lot of possibilities described with examples and codes.[9][10] However, on the internet it always looks so much easier than it is when you try it yourself. It took me quite a while to get the Kinect working in processing. What turned out to be the drivers caused a lot of problems to get any form of visuals. With a processing code I was able to visualize the input of the depth camera and even more important, the body recognition. The first step was made but there was still much to be done. I had to adapt the code in a way that it would read the values the Kinect recognizes with the processing code. With some help of some friends who were quite the Kinect experts, I managed to made it possible to extract these messages from the code so they could be send between different programs on my computer.



When I got this so called OpenSoundControl (OSC) [11]working I had to choose a program that could receive the message send from processing and do something to make music with it. I came across the program called MAX/msp when watching the dozens of examples for the Kinect. MAX/msp is an innovative software program that gives you the means to create sounds, visuals and interactive media. There were some examples with the Kinect and MAX/msp even without processing so I started to try that. I managed to get several programs working [12][13] but with none of them I was able to connect the Kinect directly to this audio software. Mainly because, like the Kinect, MAX/msp is not widely discovered in the Open Source communities and all the tutorials and documentation come directly from the Cycling’74 website, which created MAX/ msp. Therefore I went back to the processing file and included an OSC receiving possibility in a MAX/msp patch. In this way it was possible to receive data instantly from processing. When I got this working I had to choose a certain interaction and an output. In Processing I mapped several parts of the body, like the hands, shoulders and head. For each of these parts I could send the value to MAX/msp patch. In this patch I had to make an output for these values. Because the time was running out I decided to make a virtual piano. With MAX/msp I mapped the values I received from processing and used them to generate sound from the piano. Besides the logical input from your hands I also used a the values from shoulders to even provoke more movement while making the music. Except from a little bit distortion on the output, because of the unstable values from Processing, my first movement related musical instrument worked.

After the midterm and tree Self-Directed Learning weeks a new jam session was approaching. This time I took the initiative to organize a more extensive jam session than normal. Just before the SDL weeks I came in touch with Hans Leeuw, besides a coach in Playful Interactions, also a skilled trumpet player and instrument designer. Because self-organization is a central part of the Out of Control theme it seemed a good idea to me to arrange something in the benefit of all the music students. I send out an e-mail to all the students and coaches in which I offered the opportunity for all the students to present their working instrument to Hans and let his professional opinion give us feedback. It was an requirement that your instrument made sound, so Hans could empathize the context of the instruments. In the afternoon of the 23th of November Hans joined us in a small room in the Green Space. Only six students were able to present their instrument which, although there was not more space, was a pity since the part where we had to design for a group was not covered in this way. Therefore every group of students or individual presented their idea shortly with a demonstration and explanation how this should satisfy the project requirements. In the two weeks I also developed my concept further, mostly on a programmable level. I now used the left hand to adapt the keys on the piano and added my right hand and shoulder to control the pitch of another nine outputs. In this way different part of the body had all their own influence and I had to move expressly to change the pitch I controlled with my shoulder. Hans commented on this that he would imagined more fluid sounds, and output that fit the movements I made, instead of piano notes. He stated that the sound should map my expression and had a balance between expectations and surprise to get the right performance. Hans ended the day with giving an presentation/demonstration about his own instrument, the Electrumpet. This instrument was full of electronics which allowed him to manipulate the sounds he produced with the trumpet. He used all kinds of sensors connected to MAX/msp to play a sort of experimental music. He finished with showing his instrument to us and telling something about the electronics. All this together made it for an interesting and inspirational day.



I arrived at a moment in the semester at which I had to shape my final design with all the knowledge I gather during the semester. There were three weeks left before the final exhibition but I was not confident about my concept with the Kinect. I was happy with what I achieved but I did not see the concept of the Kinect evolving in a design that represented all the experiences from the preceding weeks. Mainly because my knowledge and skills in Programming had reached an end and that made it very hard to keep original because there was already many things done with the Kinect and music. I had not much time to doubt myself so I decided to alter my course. With

Des ign ing

the jam session of Hans Leeuw I experimented together with Joanne on how we could exaggerate the connection between musicians. Therefore we used a kind of elastic sheets to connect the parts of our body that were used to make music with our instruments. Because I was fascinated about this direct physical implementation in the communication I wanted to make an instrument with that as underlying thought. With this in mind I made my first sketches. This first idea was based on the small stage where an conductor most of the time stands on. At the corner of this stage there would be four pulleys with cables. One side of the four cables connected to the person on the stage,

and the other four endings to other musicians around. The reason that I did not made a stage was because many students within the music product already had a performing platform like idea and besides that the wires would not be so easy to guide around the space. With new sketches I came up with a new and better idea to connect the musicians. I would go for a wooden box in which the pulleys would connect two wire endings. In this way I could connect three times two musicians and the cables were more flexible around the space. On the axles of these pulleys I then could connect a sensor which will send the rotation data to an Arduino.


I order to make the cable retractable in two directions I made designed several constructions on which a cable could roll up in two directions. Most of them were a combination of pulleys and gears on one or two axles. To even better understand the construction I made small models with technical LEGO. In this way the principle of every small construction became visible while I had also an idea about size and needed materials.


Mak ing

I first started with making the wooden base which would contain all the pulleys and sensors. For a sturdy and robust construction I used thick MDF so the base would not move around when there would being pulled on one end of the cables. In the covering plate I made six holes where the cables could run out. To cover these holes and to attach the endings of the cable I shaped another six larger circles that would fit on the holes in the plate. If I could do that again I would not go for heavy MDF anymore but choose a light spongy material that would be easy and pleasant to grab. The wood was very heavy and sturdy when you had to put it around your waist or wrist. It hindered the interaction with the cables.


I wanted to add a leather loop to the covering connection points so I attached a safety hook to the wooden circles with a clinch. Later I could therefore make handles so they would be easy to grab.The next step were the pulleys. For this I also made a sturdy construction that could withstand quite some tension and friction. I continued making circular shapes out of the thickest MDF. The cable could roll over a set of these circles on an axis. On both ends I mounted a larger thin circle of MDF so the cable could not roll of. These circular shapes were attached on an axis which could be placed between two plates. The axis would stick out on both sides. On one side I could attach a sensor and on the other side an extra circular shape so there could be some kind of wind up construction attached to that.


For the loops that would serve as handles I bought some fake leather fabric. This fabric had only a leather-look structure on one side so they had to be cut out in the right size, folded and sewed with a nice stitch. I had no experience with editing fabrics so I tried different ways to do so. My first attempt was with glue, but this did not work. Besides I could not get the nice stitched effect I wanted. I managed to experiment with needle and thread, and the fabric was easily editable with these tools. For further editing I asked my grandmother to help me, who has a lot of experience with this since she shortens my pants since I was little. We determined the best size for the handles and the way they had to be folded and stitched. I learned how to work with the sewing machine after my grandmother showed me how. Together we finished up six handles that could be connected to the safety hooks.


I continued with the finishing up of wooden base. The pulleys were placed on a plate over which the box with the holes then can be placed. Meanwhile I colored the wooden covering circles in the three primary colors. In this way the connection between to musician would be based on the matching colors. The covering box also got its first layer of paint and the elastics were guided on the pulleys. For the sort of wind-up system I had an expert meeting with Mr. Delbressine. This expert in mechanics gave me the right push I needed to stop thinking to complicated. I wanted to build the same mechanism you find in vacuum cleaners. I was thinking about complex steel springs but why should I use that if I had my own springs in the form of elastics already. It was the same principle, but way easier. If I could do it again I would have demolished tree wind-up mechanisms out of vacuum cleaners because the elastics did not had the effect I wanted. When the inner system was mechanically finished I attached the covering circles to the elastics and to finish it I attached the handles.


For the electronic part I discovered that a rotary encoder would be the best sensor to translate circular movement into digital data. In contrast to a simple pot-meter a rotary encoder can turn continuous in both clock- and counterclockwise directions. This sensor had to be placed in the axis of the pulleys. Therefore I made a connection between the sensor and the axis and put the sensor on another plate. The three wires from the sensors would go to the Arduino within the box which is connected to a computer. The programming part of these rotary encoders caused some problems. First I had to find the best way to receive data from these sensors. This could be done either digital or analog, both with their own advantages. When I finally created sound with one sensor in analog input it seemed that, when I want to use multiple sensor inputs, I had to use the digital inputs. This meant a complete other code, both in Arduino and Processing which I used to generate sound using the Minim Library. I now as able to connect Arduino and Processing through OSC so with Processing I created a sketch that generate a modified sinus that could be influenced through the values of the three rotary encoders. In this way I could make the influence of the elastics rolling over the pulleys audible. This is however not the intended output my final concept should generate.


F i n a l c o n c e pt With the Musicionet I made a musical instrument that uses the input from other instruments to visualize and emphasize the musical communication between musicians. The intention is to, like a conductor, be able to let the musicians who are connected to each other influence their own musical building blocks. Caused by their own body movements musicians are able to manipulate the volume, pitch or tempo from their own, but also the other’s instrument. In this way you get the same interaction as jazz musicians have when they pass their improvised solo to one and another. The physical connection that is represented by the elastic wire make the musicians more aware of their body movement while making music, and the importance of it in relation to how the music is expressed. Within a group setting the Musicionet creates a physical awareness that improves the interaction while playing together.




Conclus ion This report covers the process of my part in designing a group music improvisation system. I started with doing research and discovered that, also from my own experience, that body language is an important part of musical communication.Therefore I searched for professional opinions, examples and experiences to get the feeling of this essential phenomenon.I experimented with integrating technology to implement these findings into several concepts. And although some of them looked appealing in the first place, that feeling has not prevented me of completely change them into a much more satisfying design. Eventually by following my intuition and put full attention to building and programming I managed to implement all my research, gained knowledge and inspiration into an instrument. The Musicionet is therefore the perfect reflection of my development within designing a group music improvisation system.


Reflect ion This first individual semester as industrial designer has shaped me in many ways. As I said in the part where I introduced myself, we surprisingly fast decided that each member or our group would do their own individual project. I have to admit that that scared me a bit in the beginning. Working alone had probably many advantages but at that moment I was used to teamwork and cooperative progress. The previous semester I was a team leader and I liked the way how we jointly as a team came up with a elaborated result. However I found out soon enough that in such a big project as this you never have to work alone. Besides the, almost weekly, cross coaching sessions in where the coaches were prepared to give their critical but stimulating opinion, many of the students were to help or organize each other. I might have been an individual but I had a team of almost twenty-five students as a back-up. While beginning with my exploration I actually liked the way how I could adapt my activities to my own planning and required development. This was also the reason I quickly started to develop integrating


technology. I personally saw it as an important part of making a twenty-first century musical instrument.While following all the tutorials and building all the circuits I felt I was more and more getting the hang of it. It was about time that I could write some programming code because to my vision this is essential as a designer in such a interaction-design-focused education as in Eindhoven. However I also learned about the less pleasant side of using electronics and programming software. Working with sensors already requires a good working code, in which every small mistake turns out in a meaningless error. Then there is some output you want to get but no way that that works as you expect it would. Of course I am inexperienced and still have to learn a lot but these mistakes made me sometimes really frustrated. On the other hand, when you learn to not give up, this frustration can turn into a satisfying feeling when you finally got that code working. And not only the technical part gave some struggles. The coaches stimulated us to explore our design process by making a lot of stuff. Only in this way we could know if

something would work or not. I, however, struggled with my own thoughts. I had the tendency to already disapprove an idea in my head without even trying out. Not only many potential ideas end up in my head, the sad thing is that you cannot learn from them if you do not try to execute and improve them.This is also one of the reason I changed my the design of my final concept just a few weeks before the exhibition. To my feeling I had entered door A and there was no way back. I kept continuing on working on that one concept, even if it did not gave any satisfying results anymore. I learned that even if I did finally something concrete, there is no reason to keep stuck with that idea, so I went back and choose for door B. Once I started building on my new concept, everything happened in a tearing rush. I enjoyed being at work so physically instead of only programming. Because of this motivation I managed to get my prototype working, although it was not with the output I had imagined. All these experiences together made this project into a valuable contribution to my development as industrial designer.

A c k n o w l e d g e m e nt s I would like to thank a few people for supporting me in my project. In the first place thanks to all the students within the project of designing a group music improvisation system. Especially Joanne, Gilles, Charlotte and Thijs who helped me organizing, programming or gave that little motivation to continue with an idea. Furthermore I would like to thank Marieke de Rooij and Anika van der Sanden for all the knowledge they shared with me on Arduino and Processing, and Tijmen van Gurp, who without I would never could use a Kinect. Of course also a lot of thanks to the coaches Bart Hengeveld and Joep Frens. Both with their analytical view on the project and their honest and humorous opinion. And last but definitely not least, my coach Mathias Funk. Thank you for your guidance through this project. Thanks for your professional opinion on music, your expertise and view on designing and above all, thanks for your kind stimulation which made it into a pleasant collaboration.



[1] Wikipedia “Music” [2] Wikipedia “Body Language” [3] TEDx talks “Mark Applebaum, the mad scientist if music.” applebaum_the_mad_scientist_of_music.html [4] TED talks “Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music.” on_music_and_passion.html [5] Uitzending Gemist “KRO Masterclasses Mariss Jansons.” h t t p : / / w w w. u i t z e n d i n g g e m i s t . n e t / aflevering/135225/Kco_Masterclasses_Mariss_ Jansons.html

[6] Code Project “How to succesfully Install Kinect on Windows.” How-to-Successfully-Install-Kinect-onWindows-Open

[11] Opensoundcontrol “Arduino, Processing, OSC and MAXMSP” h t t p : / / l i a m t m l a c ey. b l o g s p o t . n l / 2 0 1 1 / 0 3 / arduino-to-maxmsp-via-osc-guide-and.html

[7] OpenNI “The standard framework for 3D sensing”

[12] Synapse “Synapse for the Kinect” h t t p : / / s y n a p s e k i n e c t . t u m b l r. c o m / post/6610177302/synapse

[8]Google Code “OpenNI Library for Processing” Installation

[13] Shinect “Shinect; Nui Midi Controller”

[9] Thomas Diewald “Processing Library - Kinect” [10] Daniel Shiffman “Getting Started with Kinect and Processing”


Final Report DPi41  
Final Report DPi41  

Final report for the project Designing a Group Music Improvisation System