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MARIE: a virtuosic band of robots made by and for musicians

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Joined: 28 Dec 2010
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Location: Charlottesville, VA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:39 am    Post subject: MARIE: a virtuosic band of robots made by and for musicians Reply with quote

Expressive Machines Musical Instruments (EMMI) are a group of composer-instrument builders who have created and composed music for robotic instruments such as PAM (Poly-tangent Automatic (multi-)Monochord):

and MADI (Multi-mallet Automatic Drumming Instrument):

Here's a video of PAM shredding and a page with more videos of our instruments.

Now we're working on a new, more advanced, portable ensemble of robots designed for touring musicians:

MARIE: Monochord-Aerophone Robotic Instrument Ensemble

MARIE is a new type of music robot. It is conceived as what we're terming a Modular Electro-Acoustic Robotic Instrument System (MEARIS). Godfried-Willem Raes at the Logos Foundation) laid the groundwork for such an idea with instruments such as <Heli>, an automated Helicon which is both an (electro-)acoustic sound generator and an automatically tunable acoustic filter. With MARIE, EMMI takes this a step further, allowing multiple robotic instrument modules to combine and form larger, reconfigurable instrument systems.

The modular synthesizer serves as a useful frame of reference, both functionally and historically. As with modules in a modular synth, individual instruments (modules) in a MEARIS can be patched together with audio patch cords. Combination of modules allows for the modification of input signals to create more interesting and complex sounds.

But while the model of a modular synthesizer provides a good initial point of reference for conceptualizing the nature of this instrument system, the capabilities and features of each module of MARIE go well beyond those of a modular synth. Unlike modular synth modules, which typically serve a single function (an oscillator, a VCF, a VCA, etc.), each module of MARIE (that is, each individual robotic instrument) is it's own automated, tunable acoustic sound source, as well as it's own automated, tunable acoustic filter. Each module features acoustic or electric amplification and thus is its own rich sound source. Every parameter is MIDI controllable, ensuring reliable recall of parameter presets. Patching one instrument into another allows for the acoustic realization of instrument hybridizations--such as 'plucked' and 'bowed' air columns or 'blown' strings--which have until now only been accessible in the virtual realm of computational physical modeling. And unlike synth modules, the functioning of each MEARIS module is made readable and visible, both physically (the various actuators) and virtually (with LED's and video), for a much more engaging performance scenario.

MARIE is designed for sonic and visual impact in a concert performance scenario, as well as portability, usability, and durability.

More info about the project can be found on our Kickstarter project page. If you're into what we're doing, please consider supporting the project by becoming a backer and/or spreading the word!
support us on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/dZjD8Y
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