New Musical Instruments as Creative Solutions

Monday, April 11

Reception at 4 p.m. - Olin 014 Lobby
Talk at 4:30 p.m. - Olin 014

Related Fields: New Musical Instrument Design, Computer Music, Physical Computing, Interactive Performance, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Science, Embedded Systems, Design, Gesture

The design of new musical instruments represents one of the most creative areas of research in new media today. Combining research on gesture, hardware and software design, human-computer interaction, fabrication, composition, and performance, the field offers a rich example of design thinking in music. In this talk, Butch Rovan, a designer and performer of new musical interfaces, will provide an overview of his own approach to instrument and interactive system design as both an artist and a teacher. With examples of award-winning instruments created by his students in the MEME program at Brown University, he will demonstrate how design thinking informs the questions raised by new musical instruments. The talk will be illustrated with video and live musical demonstrations.

Butch Rovan
Butch Rovan
Butch Rovan is a media artist and performer at Brown University, where he serves as Chair of the Music Department and co-directs the MEME (Multimedia & Electronic Music Experiments) program in Computer Music. Prior to joining Brown he directed CEMI, the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia, at the University of North Texas, and was a compositeur en recherche with the Real-Time Systems Team at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris.

Rovan has received prizes from the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition, the Berlin Transmediale International Media Arts Festival, and his work has appeared throughout Europe and the U.S. His interactive installation Let us imagine a straight line was featured in the 14th WRO International Media Art Biennale, Poland.

Rovan's research includes sensor hardware design and wireless microcontroller systems. His writing is featured in Mapping Landscapes for Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).