This is a topic occupying a lot of my brainspace recently, it seems very lines-ey and I didn’t see a thread on it so far, so let’s talk about it!
What exactly? Taking acoustic instruments and using electronics and software to augment them, specifically in ways which are playable in real-time, use the acoustic sound somehow, and are controlled mainly by interfaces built into the instrument itself (although that definition is flexible).
I just found this rather nice example of augmented sax promoted by one of my favourite Icelandic venues:
And here’s my latest work on the topic, using electronics and software to create new playing techniques for hybrid electro-electronic-acoustic hurdy gurdy:
This thesis mentions a lot of interesting stuff to look into, and captures quite nicely what I feel the difference is between an augmented instrument and a “prepared” instrument, or an instrument plus a bunch of controllers:
The motivation to create a complete, self‐contained instrument is deeper than mere ergonomics, however. It is also psychological and emotional. A self‐ contained instrument deserves respect. It suggests longevity. It demands commitment if it is to be mastered. Sukandar Kartadinata, creator of the Gluion range of sensor interfaces, shares this motivation: “The goal of the gluiph project [is] to derive at more mature instruments with a stronger identity. Integrating the defining components into a single physical entity is . . . not just a matter of aesthetics” (2003:181).
The Keith McMillan k-bow looks like an interesting possibility for gestural string playing.
Post your own experiments, ideas, or nice examples of hybrid instrument techniques!