Volume 13(1), 2017-05, 109—141

Designing a Computer Model of Drumming: The Biomechanics of Percussive Performance

John R. Taylor
MARCS Institute
Western Sydney University
Australia
and
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
University of Sydney
Australia

Becoming a competent musician requires significant practice, including rehearsal of various musical pieces. Complex sequences of musical notes and the associated bodily movements must be choreographed and memorized so that the human body can reproduce these sequences consistently. Such bodily movement occurs within the instrumental performance space, with some instruments, notably the drum set, requiring more bodily movement than most. Choreographed bodily movement in drumming is fundamental for producing the timbral and timing variations crucial in delineating human vs. computer percussive performance. Current computer models designed to simulate percussive performance focus on the cognitive aspects of performance or the musical structure to determine the simulation, while other systems focus on reproducing the physics of musical instruments. The focus of this paper is on the complexities of human movement in drumming, with a view toward proposing, as part of a larger research project, a background understanding and methodology for extracting empirical data from human performance for interactive computer-based percussive performance modeling applications.

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