Fragile Instruments: Constructing Destructible Musical Interfaces

Haddad, Don Derek and Xiao, Xiao and Machover, Tod and Paradiso, Joseph

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

We introduce a family of fragile electronic musical instruments designed to be "played" through the act of destruction. Each Fragile Instrument consists of an analog synthesizing circuit with embedded sensors that detect the destruction of an outer shell, which is destroyed and replaced for each performance. Destruction plays an integral role in both the spectacle and the generated sounds. This paper presents several variations of Fragile Instruments we have created, discussing their circuit design as well as choices of material for the outer shell and tools of destruction. We conclude by considering other approaches to create intentionally destructible electronic musical instruments.