Deformable Interfaces for Performing Music

Deformable interfaces offer new possibilities for gestures, some of which have been shown effective in controlled laboratory studies. Little work, however, has attempted to match deformable interfaces to a demanding domain and evaluate them out of the lab. We investigate how musicians use deformable interfaces to perform electronic music. We invited musicians to three workshops, where they explored 10 deformable objects and generated ideas on how to use these objects to perform music. Based on the results from the workshops, we implemented sensors in the five preferred objects and programmed them for controlling sounds. Next, we ran a performance study where six musicians performed music with these objects at their studios. Our results show that (1) musicians systematically map deformations to certain musical parameters, (2) musicians use deformable interfaces especially to filter and modulate sounds, and (3) musicians think that deformable interfaces embody the parameters that they control. We discuss what these results mean to research in deformable interfaces.

Credits: Giovanni Maria Troiano 2014


Giovanni Maria Troiano, Esben Warming Pedersen, and Kasper Hornbæk. 2015. Deformable Interfaces for Performing Music. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 377-386. DOI:

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