Co-Tuning Virtual-Acoustic Performance Ecosystems: observations on the development of skill and style in the study of musician-instrument relationships

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

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

In this paper we report preliminary observations from an ongoing study into how musicians explore and adapt to the parameter space of a virtual-acoustic string bridge plate instrument. These observations inform (and are informed by) a wider approach to understanding the development of skill and style in interactions between musicians and musical instruments. We discuss a performance-driven ecosystemic approach to studying musical relationships, drawing on arguments from the literature which emphasise the need to go beyond simplistic notions of control and usability when assessing exploratory and performatory musical interactions. Lastly, we focus on processes of perceptual learning and co-tuning between musician and instrument, and how these activities may contribute to the emergence of personal style as a hallmark of skilful music-making.