Kalimbo: an Extended Thumb Piano and Minimal Control Interface

Blazey, Rob

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Kalimbo is an extended kalimba, built from repurposed materials and fitted with sensors that enable it to function as a reductionist control interface through physical gestures and capacitive sensing. The work demonstrates an attempt to apply theories and techniques from visual collage art to the concept of musical performance ecologies. The body of the instrument emerged from material-led making, and the disparate elements of a particular musical performance ecology (acoustic instrument, audio effects, samples, synthesis and controls) are juxtaposed and unified into one coherent whole. As such, Kalimbo demonstrates how visual arts, in particular collage, can inform the design and creation of new musical instruments, interfaces and streamlined performance ecologies.