This project can be framed as a value discovery exercise acknowledging the breadth of perspectives different communities might have in relation to musical instruments and interactions.

Musicians active in different contexts were invited to imagine and build not-yet-existent musical instruments, thus exploiting physical making as a different form of thinking. The outcomes of this design fiction workshop revealed many sources of influence such as cultural background, instrumental training and music technology expertise.

A project candidly inspired by Joel Ryan's As If By Magic writing and Kristina Andersen's Magic Machines workshops.


We then ran an online survey targeting music technologists with experience in musical interface design.

Participants reviewed an image of each fictional instruments and a short description of it provided by its creator. The survey asked them: 

What kind of musical style/genre do you think the musician who build this artefact plays? What instrument(s) do you think this person plays?

Overall, our participants were rather successful in guessing the genre/style of the artefacts’ creators. We were impressed by the overall ability of the survey respondents to discover the multiplicity of cultural sources and musical practices in the designer’s background. 

See this research page on my PhD work at the Augmented Instruments Laboratory - Centre for Digital Music - QMUL.