KatieAnna Wolf, R. Fiebrink
Mar 13, 2019
Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces
In this article, we describe methods and consequences for giving audience members interactive control over the real-time sonification of performer movement data in electronic music performance. We first briefly describe how to technically implement a musical performance in which each audience member can interactively construct and change their own individual sonification of performers’ movements, heard through headphones on a personal WiFi-enabled device, while also maintaining delay-free synchronization between performer movements and sound. Then, we describe two studies we conducted in the context of live musical performances with this technology. These studies have allowed us to examine how providing audience members with the ability to interactively sonify performer actions impacted their experiences, including their perceptions of their own role and engagement with the performance. These studies also allowed us to explore how audience members with different levels of expertise with sonification and sound, and different motivations for interacting, could be supported and influenced by different sonification interfaces. This work contributes to a better understanding of how providing interactive control over sonification may alter listeners’ experiences, of how to support everyday people in designing and using bespoke sonifications, and of new possibilities for musical performance and participation.