SoundXY4: Supporting Tabletop Collaboration and Awareness with Ambisonics Spatialisation

Xambó, Anna and Roma, Gerard and Laney, Robin and Dobbyn, Chris and Jordà, Sergi

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Co-located tabletop tangible user interfaces (TUIs) for music performance are known for promoting multi-player collaboration with a shared interface, yet it is still unclear how to best support the awareness of the workspace in terms of understanding individual actions and the other group members actions, in parallel. In this paper, we investigate the effects of providing auditory feedback using ambisonics spatialisation, aimed at informing users about the location of the tangibles on the tabletop surface, with groups of mixed musical backgrounds. Participants were asked to improvise music on SoundXY4: The Art of Noise, a tabletop system that includes sound samples inspired by Russolo’s taxonomy of noises. We compared spatialisation vs. no-spatialisation conditions, and findings suggest that, when using spatialisation, there was a clearer workspace awareness, and a greater engagement in the musical activity as an immersive experience.