Reflections from the NIME Primer tutorial 2011 @ Oslo before the Sormina thesis defense

Time to revisit the tutorial by S. Fels and M. Lyons, “NIME Primer: A Gentle Introduction to Creating New Interfaces for Musical Expression,” at New Interfaces for Musical Expression on 29-May-2011, in relation to Juhani Räisänen’s upcoming dissertation entitled “Sormina – A new musical instrument

Syndey and Michael state the main research question in NIME as “How can we create new interfaces to play music that is appropriate to human brains and bodies?”. I note that audience is also kept in the loop.

Based on [1], they propose a generic model, my interpretation of which is depicted above. The model holds both for the traditional instruments, and the NIMEs. However, they note that in NIMEs:

  • Control is separated from Synthesis
  • Mapping (M1,M2) is designed
  • Feedback (F1 and F2) is designed
  • Controller/Interface is designed

In design (and aesthetics) of NIMEs, Sydney and Michael indicate the following trend and practice lines

  • Technological Expressionism
  • NIME & the Music as a Process: Based on [2], they claim that the mobile NIMEs challenge the 20th century paradigm of the music as an artifact
  • Challenge of Performance
  • Mapping & the Audience: Transparency
  • Visual Feedback
  • Interaction Metaphor
  • Perry’s principles: for NIME novices, Sydney and Michael recommend [3] and its updates for a first reading.

I am looking forward to read how the upcoming thesis addresses these issues.

Read on the NIME tutorial here. While there, you may want to glance our Abstract to learn more on where the figure above comes from.


[1] E. R. Miranda and M. M. Wanderley, New Digital MusicalInstruments: Control And Interaction Beyond the Keyboard. A-REditions, 2006.

[2] G. D’Arcangelo, “Recycling Music, Answering Back: Toward an OralTradition of Electronic Music,” in New Interfaces for MusicalExpression (NIME), 2004,pp. 1–4.

[3] P. Cook, “Principles for designing computer music controllers,” inProc. New Interfaces for Musical Expression, 2001,