Idiomatic Composition Practices for New Musical Instruments: Context, Background and Current Applications

Vasquez, Juan and Tahiro─člu, Koray and Kildal, Johan

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

One of the reasons of why some musical instruments more successfully continue their evolution and actively take part in the history of music is partially attributed to the existing compositions made specifically for them, pieces that remain and are still played over a long period of time. This is something we know, performing these compositions keeps the characteristics of the instruments alive and able to survive. This paper presents our contribution to this discussion with a context and historical background for idiomatic compositions. Looking beyond the classical era, we discuss how the concept of idiomatic music has influenced research and composition practices in the NIME community; drawing more attention in the way current idiomatic composition practices considered specific NIME affordances for sonic, social and spatial interaction. We present particular projects that establish idiomatic writing as a part of a new repertoire for new musical instruments. The idiomatic writing approach to composing music for NIME can shift the unique characteristics of new instruments to a more established musical identity, providing a shared understanding and a common literature to the community.