New journal publication: Surveying Digital Musical Instrument Use in Active Practice


News Publications


John Sullivan

We’re happy to announce that our new research article “Surveying Digital Musical Instrument Use in Active Practice” has been published in the Journal of New Music Research.

Co-authored by IDMIL members John Sullivan and Marcelo M. Wanderley along with Catherine Guastavino (McGill University – School of Information Studies, CIRMMT), the article presents results of the Electronic Musical Instrument Survey that investigated the adoption, continued use, and potential abandonment of digital instruments and interfaces in real-world performance practices of musicians.

Our intent for the research was to identify factors for, and elements of, both short and long term engagement with new performance technologies that could be of use to instrument designers, and the article summarizes the survey findings into a set of design considerations that can guide the development of new instruments.


Digital musical instruments are frequently designed in research and experimental performance contexts but few are taken up into sustained use by active and professional musicians. To identify the needs of performers who use novel technologies in their practices, a survey of musicians was conducted that identified desirable qualities for instruments to be viable in active use, along with attributes for successful uptake and continued use of instruments based on frameworks of long and short term user engagement. The findings are presented as a set of design considerations towards the development of instruments intended for use by active and professional performers.