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Digital Musical Interactions: Performer–system relationships and their perception by spectators

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2011

Michael Gurevich*
Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
A. Cavan Fyans*
Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK


This article adopts an ecological view of digital musical interactions, considering first the relationship between performers and digital systems, and then spectators’ perception of these interactions. We provide evidence that the relationships between performers and digital music systems are not necessarily instrumental in the same was as they are with acoustic systems, and nor should they always strive to be. Furthermore, we report results of a study indicating that spectators may not perceive such interactions in the same way as performances with acoustic musical instruments. We present implications for the design of digital musical interactions, suggesting that designers should embrace the reality that digital systems are malleable and dynamic, and may engage performers and spectators in different modalities, sometimes simultaneously.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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