From Real to Virtual : A Comparison of Input Devices for Percussion Tasks

Collicutt, Mike and Casciato, Carmine and Wanderley, Marcelo M.

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper presents an evaluation and comparison of four input devices for percussion tasks: a standard tom drum, Roland V-Drum, and two established examples of gestural controllers: the Buchla Lightning II, and the Radio Baton. The primary goal of this study was to determine how players’ actions changed when moving from an acoustic instrument like the tom drum, to a gestural controller like the Buchla Lightning, which bears little resemblance to an acoustic percussion instrument. Motion capture data was analyzed by comparing a subject’s hand height variability and timing accuracy across the four instruments as they performed simple musical tasks. Results suggest that certain gestures such as hand height amplitude can be adapted to these gestural controllers with little change and that in general subjects’ timing variability is significantly affected when playing on the Lightning and Radio Baton when compared to the more familiar tom drum and VDrum. Possible explanations and other observations are also presented.