I have been working numerous compositions and performances
with Virtual Musical Instruments. These refer to a system
that a gesture of performer is translated into electric signals.
One may control sound or video image of computer with movement
of body in real time.
2. Virtual Musical Instrument
One of Virtual Musical Instrument that I created is Virtual
Violin “SuperPolm”. There is neither string nor
hair of bow. A gesture of performance with a violin is merely
modeled. One of others is played with lights that are held
by hands of performer. As he moves these lights in a space,
he can modifies sound and video images. The third one is “BodySuit”
(Data Suite), in which there 12 sensors on each joint of body.
The performer doesn't’t hold anything on his hands,
however, he can play as if he dances.
Virtual instruments, or controllers, cannot produce sounds
by themselves. They merely send signals that produce sounds
by means of a computer or a sound module. They may be regarded
as an interface between the performer and the computer insofar
as they translate the energy derived from body movements into
electrical signals. At the same time however, they allow the
performer to express complex musical ideas. With the help
of a controller, a tiny gesture can trigger any number of
complex musical passages at one and the same time in a real
time context, whereas a traditional instrument can produce
only a limited range of sounds.
I have chosen to focus on the use of virtual musical instruments
in a performance context. One of the instruments I have designed
is the “BodySuit”, a suit fitted with bending
sensors that are attached to each joint of the body. This
suit is an ideal performance tool : it enables me to make
wide, sweeping movements that can easily be observed by the
A performer wears a data suit, on which 12 sensors are attached
on each joint of the body. This data suit functions as an
interface of gesture. Depending on a movement, sound and video
images are changed in real time. This differs from a traditional
instrument and a controller. A player performs with larger
movements, such as stretching and bending joints, twisting
arms and so on. This gesture does not function like dance
or theater. It contains, however, an element of "performance"
within the live musical context. The gesture is not previously
decided in a strict sense. An audience may observe an obvious
difference of intensity of movement between a static section
and a kinetic section in the composition.