Feeling the beat where it counts: fostering multi-limb rhythm skills with the haptic drum kit

Holland, Simon; Bouwer, Anders J.; Dalgleish, Mat and Hurtig, Topi M. (2010). Feeling the beat where it counts: fostering multi-limb rhythm skills with the haptic drum kit. In: Proceedings of the fourth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction, 25-27 Jan 2010, Boston Cambridge Mass, USA, pp. 21–28.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/1709886.1709892

URL: http://www.tei-conf.org/11/hm/


This paper introduces and explores a tool known as the Haptic Drum Kit. The Haptic Drum Kit employs four computer-controlled vibrotactile devices, one attached to each limb via the wrists and ankles. In the mode of use discussed in this paper, haptic pulses are used to guide the playing, on a drum kit, of rhythmic patterns that require multi-limb co-ordination. The immediate aim is to foster rhythm skills and multi-limb coordination. A broader aim is to systematically develop skills in recognizing, identifying, memorizing, retaining, analyzing, reproducing and composing monophonic and polyphonic rhythms. We consider the implications of three different theories for this approach: the work of the music educator Dalcroze (1865-1950 [1]; the entrainment theory of human rhythm perception and production [2,3]; and sensory motor contingency theory [4]. In this paper we introduce the Haptic Drum Kit; consider the implications of the above theories for this approach; report on a design study; and identify and discuss a variety of emerging design issues. As part of the design study, audio and haptic guidance was compared for five people learning to play polyphonic drum patterns of varying complexity. The results indicate that beginning drummers are able to learn intricate drum patterns from the haptic stimuli alone, although haptic plus audio is the mode of presentation preferred by subjects.

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