The EMvibe: An Electromagnetically Actuated Vibraphone

Britt, N. Cameron and Snyder, Jeff and McPherson, Andrew

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

The EMvibe is an augmented vibraphone that allows for continuous control over the amplitude and spectrum of in-dividual notes. The system uses electromagnetic actuators to induce vibrations in the vibraphone’s aluminum tone bars. The tone bars and the electromagnetic actuators are coupled via neodymium magnets affixed to each bar. The acoustic properties of the vibraphone allowed us to develop a very simple, low-cost and powerful amplification solution that requires no heat sinking. The physical design is meant to be portable and robust, and the system can be easily installed on any vibraphone without interfering with normal performance techniques. The system supports multiple in-terfacing solutions, affording the performer and composer the ability to interact with the EMvibe in different ways depending on the musical context.