The Mutha Rubboard Controller

Wilkerson, Carr and Serafin, Stefania and Ng, Carmen

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

The Mutha Rubboard is a musical controller based on the rubboard, washboard or frottoir metaphor commonly used in the Zydeco music genre of South Louisiana. It is not onlya metamorphosis of a traditional instrument, but a modern bridge of exploration into a rich musical heritage. It uses capacitive and piezo sensing technology to output MIDI and raw audio data.This new controller reads the key placement in two parallel planes by using radio capacitive sensing circuitry expanding greatly on the standard corrugated metal playing surface. The percussive output normally associated with the rubboard is captured through piezo contact sensors mounted directly on the keys (the playing implements). Additionally,mode functionality is controlled by discrete switching on the keys.This new instrument is meant to be easily played by both experienced players and those new to the rubboard. It lends itself to an expressive freedom by placing the control surface on the chest and allowing the hands to move uninhibited about it or by playing it in the usual way, preserving its musical heritage.