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The Hyperbow is an electronic violin bow interface that was developed as a result of a in-depth research project by students at MIT. The instrument is intended for use only by accomplished players. The creation of musical instruments that utilize technology to increase the functionality and subtlety of control has been an endeavour of Tod Machover and his research group since 1986.
This project aims to capture the most intricate aspects of violin bowing technique, the subtle elements that immediately and directly impact the sound of the instrument while playing. The physical gesture data collected can then be used to control audio effects and synthesis algorithms in real-time. The Hyperbow interface was featured in Toy Symphony performances with violinists Joshua Bell and Cora Venus Lunny, and several pieces for cello and Hyperbow have recently been developed and recorded by colleagues at the Royal Academy of Music.
Current research uses the Hyperbow as a measurement system to investigate the interaction of bowing parameters (acceleration, force, position) and the corresponding effects on the audio produced.
Diana Young revised the Hyperbow hardware and created two Hyperbows for cello for a collaboration with the Royal Academy of Music in London. Several compositions featuring the Hyperbows have been written and recorded. Two early pieces were presented on December 2, 2005 at the research seminar entitled New Tools, New Uses, at the Royal Academy of Music and again at the New Instruments for Musical Expression conference NIME on June 8, 2006 as part of a series of seminars on Digital Interfaces for the Violin Family.
- Ray, Robin H., "Grad student's Hyperbow makes music to measure", MIT News Office, July 6, 2006; and in MIT Tech Talk on September 13, 2006.
- Young, Diana. A Methodology for Investigation of Bowed String Performance Through Measurement of Violin Bowing Technique[permanent dead link]. PhD Thesis. M.I.T., 2007.
- Young, Diana. Selected publications, MIT.
- Templeton, David, Fresh Prince: Joshua Bell on composition, hyperviolins, and the future, Strings magazine, October 2002, No. 105.
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