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The loudspeaker as musical instrument

Mulder, J.ORCID: 0000-0002-0258-624X (2010) The loudspeaker as musical instrument. In: Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) 2010, 15 - 18 June 2010, Sydney, Australia pp. 13-18.

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With the author’s own experiences in mind, this paper argues that, when used to amplify musical instruments or to play back other sonic material to an audience, loudspeakers and the technology that drives them, can be considered as a musical instrument. Particularly in situations with acoustic instruments this perspective can provide insight into the often cumbersome relation between the –technology orientated– sound engineer and the –music orientated– performer. Playing a musical instrument (whether acoustic, electric or electronic) involves navigating often complicated but very precise interfaces. The interface for sound amplification technology in a certain environment is not limited to the control surface of a mixing desk but includes the interaction with other stakeholder, i.e. the performers and the choice of loudspeakers and microphones and their positions. As such this interface can be as accurate and intimate but also as complicated as the interfaces of 'normal' musical instruments. By zooming in on differences between acoustic and electronic sources a step is taken towards inclusion in this discussion of the perception of amplified music and the possible influence of that amplification on performance practise.

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