A gestural analysis for the drummer's balance, posture, and techniques

Martin Daigle, Charlie Reimer

In drum kit performance practice, players are typically required to play repetitive patterns for extended periods, which carries the potential risks of playing-related injuries, such as musculoskeletal disorders. To avoid these potentially career-altering hazards, balance, posture, and proper technique are important elements of healthy drum kit performance practice. Additionally, different musical styles may have different technical requirements or stylistic norms that influence drummer balance and posture when performing or practicing. As such, understanding genre-based differences in technique, balance, and posture may be useful in developing practice pedagogy that can minimize the occurrence of playing-related injury. This research focuses on how drummer technique, balance, and posture changes depending on musical genre and uses a multi-sensor set up to investigate what data collection methods might be most useful for studying these differences. We recruited drummers from jazz, classical, and metal backgrounds to investigate differences in foot technique (heel up versus heel down) and center of mass when playing six musical excerpts from jazz, rock, and metal genres. Data was collected using a 14-camera motion capture system, audiovisual recordings, a force plate placed below the drummer’s stool, and a questionnaire focused on participants’ backgrounds and understanding of the technique. Data is currently being analyzed.

10:30 a.m.

TRILL - Continuing Creative Connectivity in Care Homes

Richard Barham

How can music-making activities be continued in a care home when access is limited or prohibited during a pandemic?

A 2019 research project showed that music-making with older adults experiencing cognitive and physical limitations can be achieved through digital means such as the motion-sensitive Soundbeam System and iPads running touch-sensitive applications. This project demonstrated that such devices can enable seniors to collaborate and improvise musically, creating their own melodies through hand gestures and touch, and by applying the same techniques to improvise on top of backing tracks featuring any type of instrument and any genre of music they wish. When COVID abruptly put an end to this project, a solution was urgently sought that could allow these activities to continue by marrying the same music-making technology to extreme portability and video conferencing, thus allowing facilitators to continue communicating and collaborating with seniors in supervised care during a lockdown. This system can be wheeled onto any floor and set up and operated by a single caregiver while communicating virtually with facilitators. It is currently in the design/prototype phase and is being tested at a care home in Quebec City.

2:30 p.m.

Designing a Physical Interface to Facilitate Interaction with an Autonomous Musical Agent in Improvized Performance

Vincent Cusson, Tommy Davis

Semi-autonomous computer agents can improvise in realtime with human performers using machine listening to analyze the performer’s sonic gestures which then influence generative audio segments from pre-recorded sounds. These situations often require a technician to monitor the electronics, or the interaction may be limited by the existing agent’s listening functions. Our research asks how computer agency is defined in improvised performance and how an augmented instrument design can facilitate interaction between semi-autonomous improvising agents and a musician. We began with a simple instrument constructed from a saxophone mouthpiece attached to plastic tubing which has limited sound production and performance techniques. This simple but compelling instrument is suitable for non-invasive controller augmentation allowing realtime performer-computer communication. The eTube is a new augmented instrument specifically designed to interact with various existing improvising frameworks that we have adapted in the past year. A consideration of our complimentary roles as an instrument designer/programmer and saxophonist/improviser was also present throughout the process. In this talk we will present the eTube’s interface controller design and functions, our Etu{d,b}e research-creation framework, and reflections on our collaborative process.

2:45 p.m.

Towards better hearing protection for musicians: a loudness experiment.

Drees Elliot

Special hearing protection devices (HPDs) have been designed for musicians, traditionally featuring passive acoustic filters and more recently featuring active electroacoustic sound compression filters. Although they typically show better fidelity than common passive foam earplugs, they have limitation when it comes to conserving the timbre of external sounds. This is sometimes referred to as the "isolation effect", and it is mostly caused by the varying profiles of the equal-loudness curves as a function of sound levels: changing the loudness of sounds also changes their timbre. To mitigate the change in timbre during playback at different intensity levels, loudness compensation algorithms were developed. However, no standardized methods in the literature currently exist to evaluate the performance of those algorithms, making it difficult to appreciate the improvement on timbre quality they can bring. To determine if loudness compensation could effectively improve the quality of HPDs, we propose a testing protocol to compare the performance of three existing algorithms, on the basis of audio quality evaluation standards (BS.1284-2 and BS.1534-3) adapted for timbre comparison. We will present the developed protocol as well as its hardware and software implementation, and we will justify our design choices.

3:00 p.m.

Gamelan Elektronik: A Compositional Approach to Balinese Gamelan and Electronics

I Putu Arya Deva Suryanegara

This research-creation project involves a focused study of the theory and technique of mixed and electronic music (Elsea 2013) applied to original Balinese gamelan compositional practice (McGraw 2009). This project includes the study of basic acoustics, music programming, sound treatment, mixed and electronic music composition, sound synthesis, software manipulation, recording techniques, visual performance, and more. By composing four pieces each using different techniques and aesthetics, I will isolate the elements most amenable to composition within a Balinese gamelan framework, an artistic field in which I am already highly trained both institutionally and experientially through my previous studies. It is especially relevant and urgent to make these resources more widely available to composers in Bali interested in the intersection between gamelan and electronics, as interest is quickly growing. I intend to encapsulate the results of my research in writing, in order to provide a resource for composers interested in Balinese gamelan that incorporates electronics. This resource will also be beneficial to composers of all backgrounds interested in the reframing of perspectives and intersection of musical practices.

3:15 p.m.

Low-intensity ultrasound therapy for voice disorders

Sara Nejati

Vocal fold (VF) inflammation is a prevalent debilitating complication among professional voice users, especially singers; and vocal fold scarring following inflammation is a major cause of dysphonia and an impaired quality of life. Hence, finding a viable treatment for VF inflammation is of great importance. Although low-intensity ultrasound (LIUS) has led to considerably beneficial therapeutic outcomes in a wide variety of medical applications and seems to be a huge potential for voice disorders’ treatment, it has not been examined for this application. Hence, in the current project we aim to study the effect of LIUS on VF inflammation. In order to do that, we will culture human vocal fold fibroblasts (hVFFs) and get them exposed to LIUS and the effects of ultrasound on cell viability, morphology, and proliferation will be studied using live/dead assay, optical microscopy, and WST-1 assay. Then, we will simulate VF inflammation in vitro using E-cigarette and we will analyze the impact of LIUS on inflammation by monitoring its effects on pro-inflammatory (TNFα, IL1, IL6) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10, TGFβ) cytokines using an inflammatory ELISA kit. After finding the involved genes, we will try to reveal the mechanisms that underlie the biological effects of ultrasound.
poster presentation 4:30 p.m.

Computational Methods applied to Motivic Analyses of Jazz Improvisation

Timothy de Reuse

This project uses computational methods to compare the use of repeated patterns or “licks” in the improvisations of two jazz alto saxophonists, Charlie Parker and Lee Konitz. Konitz was greatly influenced by Parker but developed a highly individual style, expressing in interview that since the early stages of his career he had had no intention of adopting Parker’s “compositional approach,” deliberately avoiding Parker’s use of “formulas.” Using pattern discovery algorithms, we can automate the time-consuming process of motivic analysis and make quantifiable statements about how each performer uses repeated musical material, empirically evaluating Konitz’s statements on his and Parker’s improvisational practices. Musical pattern discovery is notoriously difficult to encode algorithmically, due to the complexity of defining what constitutes an analytically interesting musical pattern and segmenting melodic lines to find appropriate boundaries for motif occurrences. We designed an algorithm to find rhythmically complex licks in jazz saxophone solos through continuous modification based on the feedback of a jazz saxophonist (Orland) with particular knowledge of the genre. We document this iterative process as a case study for similar interdisciplinary projects. Our findings also highlight the current capabilities and limitations of using pattern discovery algorithms for musical analysis.

poster presentation 4:30 p.m.