Simpletones: A System of Collaborative Physical Controllers for Novices

Zamorano, Francisco

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper introduces Simpletones, an interactive sound system that enables a sense of musical collaboration for non-musicians. Participants can easily create simple sound compositions in real time by collaboratively operating physical artifacts as sound controllers. The physical configuration of the artifacts requires coordinated actions between participants to control sound (thus requiring, and emphasizing collaboration). Simpletones encourages playful human-to-human interaction by introducing a simple interface and a set of basic rules [1]. This enables novices to focus on the collaborative aspects of making music as a group (such as synchronization and taking collective decisions through non-verbal communication) to ultimately engage a state of group flow[2]. This project is relevant to a contemporary discourse on musical expression because it allows novices to experience the social aspects of group music making, something that is usually reserved only for trained performers [3].