Enhancing the Expressivity of the Sensel Morph via Audio-rate Sensing

Paisa, Razvan and Overholt, Dan

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This project describes a novel approach to hybrid electro-acoustical instruments by augmenting the Sensel Morph, with real-time audio sensing capabilities. The actual action-sounds are captured with a piezoelectric transducer and processed in Max 8 to extend the sonic range existing in the acoustical domain alone. The control parameters are captured by the Morph and mapped to audio algorithm proprieties like filter cutoff frequency, frequency shift or overdrive. The instrument opens up the possibility for a large selection of different interaction techniques that have a direct impact on the output sound. The instrument is evaluated from a sound designer’s perspective, encouraging exploration in the materials used as well as techniques. The contribution are two-fold. First, the use of a piezo transducer to augment the Sensel Morph affords an extra dimension of control on top of the offerings. Second, the use of acoustic sounds from physical interactions as a source for excitation and manipulation of an audio processing system offers a large variety of new sounds to be discovered. The methodology involved an exploratory process of iterative instrument making, interspersed with observations gathered via improvisatory trials, focusing on the new interactions made possible through the fusion of audio-rate inputs with the Morph’s default interaction methods.