Augmented instruments are acoustic instruments that have been fitted with sensors so that information concerning gestural parameters can be transmitted in real-time. These instruments are specifically adapted for mixed acoustic and electronic music. This work is carried out in close collaboration with composers and performers, the goal being the integration of this technology in their works. These developments are also a part of IRCAM’s research into instrumental gesture.
This project began with the development of the augmented violin, which then took off due to the interest of various composers. We are now working on all the string quartet instruments as well as certain percussion instruments. Diverse computer techniques have also been developed to analyze, recognize, and follow instrumental gestures. For example, a list of musical elements such as playing styles or musical phrases could be defined by the composer and could be used as a foundation for interaction with sound processes including synthesis or spatialization. These tools make it possible to develop a new generation of score following. Finally, it is important to note that these augmented instruments are used in musical creations, but also in the educational arena.