Volume 16(3), 2020-11, 348—371

Creating digital musical instruments with and for children: Including vocal sketching as a method for engaging in codesign

Kjetil Falkenberg
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Sound and Music Computing
Stockholm, Sweden

Hans Lindetorp
Music and Media Production
Stockholm, Sweden
and
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Sound and Music Computing
Stockholm, Sweden

Adrian Benigno Latupeirissa
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Sound and Music Computing
Stockholm, Sweden

Emma Frid
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Sound and Music Computing
Stockholm, Sweden

A class of master of science students and a group of preschool children codesigned new digital musical instruments based on workshop interviews involving vocal sketching, a method for imitating and portraying sounds. The aim of the study was to explore how the students and children would approach vocal sketching as one of several design methods. The children described musical instruments to the students using vocal sketching and other modalities (verbal, drawing, gestures). The resulting instruments built by the students were showcased at the Swedish Museum of Performing Arts in Stockholm. Although all the children tried vocal sketching during preparatory tasks, few employed the method during the workshop. However, the instruments seemed to meet the children’s expectations. Consequently, even though the vocal sketching method alone provided few design directives in the given context, we suggest that vocal sketching, under favorable circumstances, can be an engaging component that complements other modalities in codesign involving children.

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