Virtual-Acoustic Instrument Design: Exploring the Parameter Space of a String-Plate Model

Mehes, Sandor and van Walstijn, Maarten and Stapleton, Paul

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Exploration is an intrinsic element of designing and engaging with acoustic as well as digital musical instruments. This paper reports on the ongoing development of a virtual-acoustic instrument based on a physical model of a string coupled nonlinearly to a plate. The performer drives the model by tactile interaction with a string-board controller fitted with piezo-electric sensors. The string-plate model is formulated in a way that prioritises its parametric explorability. Where the roles of creating performance gestures and designing instruments are traditionally separated, such a design provides a continuum across these domains. The string-plate model, its real-time implementation, and the control interface are described, and the system is preliminarily evaluated through informal observations of how musicians engage with the system.