Tooka: Explorations of Two Person Instruments

Fels, Sidney S. and Vogt, Florian

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

In this paper we describe three new music controllers, each designed to be played by two players. As the intimacy between two people increases so does their ability to anticipate and predict the other’s actions. We hypothesize that this intimacy between two people can be used as a basis for new controllers for musical expression. Looking at ways people communicate non-verbally, we are developing three new instruments based on different communication channels. The Tooka is a hollow tube with a pressure sensor and buttons for each player. Players place opposite ends in their mouths and modulate the pressure in the tube with their tongues and lungs, controlling sound. Coordinated button presses control the music as well. The Pushka, yet to be built, is a semirigid rod with strain gauges and position sensors to track the rod’s position. Each player holds opposite ends of the rod and manipulates it together. Bend, end point position, velocity and acceleration and torque are mapped to musical parameters. The Pullka, yet to be built, is simply a string attached at both ends with two bridges. Tension is measured with strain gauges. Players manipulate the string tension at each end together to modulate sound. We are looking at different musical mappings appropriate for two players.