YouHero Making an Expressive Concert Instrument from the GuitarHero Controller

Dahlstedt, Palle and Karlsson, Patrik and Widell, Katarina and Blomdahl, Tony

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

The idea behind the YouHero was two-fold. First, to make an expressive instrument out of the computer game toy guitar controller from the famous game GuitarHero. With its limited amount of control parameters, this was a challenge. Second, through this instrument we wanted to provide an alternative to the view that you become a hero by perfect imitation of your idols. Instead, play yourself. You are the hero. In this paper, we describe the design of the instrument, including its novel mapping approach based on switched timbre vectors scaled by accellerometer data, unconventional sound engines and the sound and mapping editing features, including manual editing of individual vectors. The instrument is evaluated through its practical applications during the whole project, with workshops with teenagers, a set of state-funded commissions from professional composers, and the development of considerable skill by the key performers. We have also submitted a performance proposal for this project.