Robotic Percussive Aerophone

Barton, Scott and Sundberg, Karl and Walter, Andrew and Baker, Linda Sara and Sane, Tanuj and O’Brien, Alexander

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Percussive aerophones are configurable, modular, scalable, and can be constructed from commonly found materials. They can produce rich timbres, a wide range of pitches and complex polyphony. Their use by humans, perhaps most famously by the Blue Man Group, inspired us to build an electromechanically-actuated version of the instrument in order to explore expressive possibilities enabled by machines. The Music, Perception, and Robotics Lab at WPI has iteratively designed, built and composed for a robotic percussive aerophone since 2015, which has both taught lessons in actuation and revealed promising musical capabilities of the instrument.