Reimagining the Computer Keyboard as a Musical Interface

Waite, Si

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper discusses the use of typed text as a real-time input for interactive performance systems. A brief review of the literature discusses text-based generative systems, links between typing and playing percussion instruments and the use of typing gestures in contemporary performance practice. The paper then documents the author’s audio-visual system that is driven by the typing of text/lyrics in real-time. It is argued that the system promotes the sensation of liveness through clear, perceptible links between the performer’s gestures, the system’s audio outputs and the its visual outputs. The system also provides a novel approach to the use of generative techniques in the composition and live performance of songs. Future developments would include the use of dynamic text effects linked to sound generation and greater interaction between human performer and the visuals.