Feeling the Effort of Classical Musicians – A Pipeline from Electromyography to Smartphone Vibration for Live Music Performance



John Sullivan

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Felipe Verdugo, Amedeo Ceglia, Christian Frisson, Alexandre Burton, Mickael Begon, Sylvie Gibet, Marcelo M. Wanderley

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Proceedings of the 2022 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME 2022)


This paper presents the MappEMG pipeline. The goal of this pipeline is to augment the traditional classical concert experience by giving listeners access, through the sense of touch, to an intimate and non-visible dimension of the musicians’ bodily experience while performing. The live-stream pipeline produces vibrations based on muscle activity captured through surface electromyography (EMG). Therefore, MappEMG allows the audience to experience the performer’s muscle effort, an essential component of music performance which is typically unavailable to direct visual observation. The paper is divided in four sections. First, we overview related works on EMG, music performance, and vibrotactile feedback. We then present conceptual and methodological issues of capturing musicians’ muscle effort related to their expressive intentions. We further explain the different components of the live-stream data pipeline: a python software named Biosiglive for data acquisition and processing, a Max/MSP patch for data post-processing and mapping, and a mobile application named hAPPtiks for real-time control of smartphones’ vibration. Finally, we address the application of the pipeline in an actual music performance. Thanks to their modular structure, the tools presented could be used in different creative and biomedical contexts involving gestural control of haptic stimuli.

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