Electronic Music Is More Expressive With Motion Sensing Technology And MPE
THERE’S A NEW MIDI PROTOCOL IN TOWN THAT ENABLES AN ENHANCED EXPERIENCE FOR ELECTRONIC MUSICIANS.
It’s called MPE — short for Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression. Traditional MIDI note events only have two dimensions — pitch and velocity — but today’s musicians are driving the demand for new ways to produce and perform electronic music with instruments whose expressivity can match those of traditional acoustic instruments.
The benefits of MPE are twofold: It allows musicians to produce electronic music in a way that’s more expressive while enabling new kinds of multi-dimensional instruments and controllers. This new breed of expressive controllers is capable of sending multiple dimensions of gesture control — not only from left or right but also up, down, pressure and beyond. Until now, software has not been equipped to deal with the extra gestural data provided by these controllers, limiting the degrees of freedom they could offer musicians and reducing the creative use of their multi-dimensional controls.
THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME GESTURE CONTROL GLOVES HAVE EVER BEEN INTEGRATED WITH MPE
At NAMM 2017, musician Kevin Doucette presented a demo using a pair of motion-sensing gloves as MPE controllers. This was the first time gesture-control gloves have ever been integrated with MPE, and the fact that the setup was only a three-day-old prototype made it even more impressive. Stretch sensors on the fingers captured Kevin’s finger movement, while 6-axis combo sensors captured the hand movements.
The options for using hands as an instrument controller opens up many possibilities for music production and performance. Hand gestures allow us to manipulate sounds in a way that has not been traditionally available. A flick of the wrist can be used to bend a note or even completely change the sound of the instrument being played. Gestures can also be customized to generate any number of responses, which offers artists even more creative freedom.