Sound Spheres A non-contact virtual musical instrument played using finger tracking

Hughes, Craig (2010). Sound Spheres A non-contact virtual musical instrument played using finger tracking. Student dissertation for The Open University module M801 MSc in Software Development Research Dissertation.

Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.



The creation and performance of music is predominantly and traditionally reliant on the direct physical interaction between the performer and a musical instrument. The advent of electronics and computing has given rise to many new electronic musical instruments and interfaces. Recent advances in these areas have seen an emerging trend into the design of virtual musical interfaces in which audio is synthesized and played back based on a musician‟s body movements captured by some gestural interface. Designing new electronic or virtual musical instruments necessitates consideration of many factors that affect its control and playability. The research described in this dissertation concerns the design and construction of a new non-contact virtual musical instrument (called Sound Spheres) that uses a finger tracking method as its gestural interface. The dissertation identifies control parameters and key factors that are considered important for the design of such instruments and provides research into whether these can be successfully achieved in a non-contact virtual musical instrument played by finger tracking. Results show that implementation of the control parameters of pressure, speed, and position can successfully be achieved for a non-contact virtual musical instrument. Achieving successful implementation of the angle control parameter however was inconclusive. Furthermore the results present evidence that the finger tracking technique is an effective method for playing such an instrument.

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