Papertonnetz: Music Composition With Interactive Paper

Publication Type:

Conference Proceedings


Proceedings of the 9th Sound and Music Computing Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, p.219-225 (2012)


Tonnetz are space-based musical representations that lay out individual pitches in a regular structure. They are primarily used for analysis with visualization tools or on paper and for performance with button-based tablet or tangible interfaces. This paper first investigates how properties of Tonnetz can be applied in the composition process, including how to represent pitch based on chords or scales and lay them out in a two-dimensional space. We then describe PaperTonnetz, a tool that lets musicians explore and compose music with Tonnetz representations by making gestures on interactive paper. Unlike screen-based interactive Tonnetz systems that treat the notes as playable buttons, PaperTonnetz allows composers to interact with gestures, creating replayable patterns that represent pitch sequences and/or chords. We describe the results of an initial test of the system in a public setting, and how we revised PaperTonnetz to better support three activities: discovering, improvising and assembling musical sequences in a Tonnetz. We conclude with a discussion of directions for future research with respect to creating novel paper-based interactive music representations to support musical composition.

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