Construction and Performance Applications of an Augmented Violin: TRAVIS II

Chantelle Ko , Lora Oehlberg

cmj-2020-ko.pdf

Abstract

We present the second iteration of a Touch-Responsive Augmented Violin Interface System, called TRAVIS II, and two compositions that demonstrate its expressivity. TRAVIS II is an augmented acoustic violin with touch sensors integrated into its 3-D printed fingerboard that track left-hand finger gestures in real time. The fingerboard has four strips of conductive PLA filament that produce an electric signal when fingers press down on each string. Although these sensors are physically robust, they are mechanically assembled and thus easy to replace if damaged. The performer can also trigger presets via four sensors attached to the body of the violin. The instrument is completely wireless, giving the performer the freedom to move throughout the performance space. Although the sensing fingerboard is installed in place of the traditional fingerboard, all other electronics can be removed from the augmented instrument, maintaining the aesthetics of a traditional violin. Our design allows violinists to naturally create music for interactive performance and improvisation without requiring new instrumental techniques. The first author composed two compositions to highlight TRAVIS II: “Dream State” and “Kindred Dichotomy.” Both of these compositions involve improvisation in their creative process and include interactive visuals. In this article we describe the design of the instrument, experiments leading to the sensing fingerboard, performative applications of the instrument, and compositional considerations for the resultant pieces.

Reference

Chantelle Ko, Lora OehlbergConstruction and Performance Applications of an Augmented Violin: TRAVIS IIIn undefined (CMJ '20)  Page: 1-14.  DOI: 10.1162/comj_a_00563