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Machines 2015, 3(4), 317-338; doi:10.3390/machines3040317

Awakening the Synthesizer Knob: Gestural Perspectives

Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Denis Lalanne
Received: 24 July 2015 / Revised: 16 October 2015 / Accepted: 19 October 2015 / Published: 28 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tangible meets Gestural)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2536 KB, uploaded 28 October 2015]   |  


While being the primary mode of interaction with mainstream digital musical instruments, the knob has been greatly overlooked in its potential for innovation. In this paper, we aim to open up the thinking about new possibilities for the knob. Based on an analysis of the background of the knob and the relevant theory on interaction, three directives are formulated to guide the design of a new breed of knobs. Six prototypes are tested through an AttrakDiff questionnaire and Discourse Analysis. It is shown that the proposed new breed of knobs has stronger hedonic qualities than knobs of mainstream digital musical instruments, though the pragmatic quality appears lower. The strongest improvement is seen in stimulation, an important factor in enticing investment to play, and as such, more expressive control. Through using three directives, a new generation of knobs can be made that would improve the expressive affordances of digital musical instruments. View Full-Text
Keywords: knobs; interfaces; digital musical instruments; electronic musical instruments; interaction design; AttrakDiff; discourse analysis knobs; interfaces; digital musical instruments; electronic musical instruments; interaction design; AttrakDiff; discourse analysis

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jense, A.; Eggen, B. Awakening the Synthesizer Knob: Gestural Perspectives. Machines 2015, 3, 317-338.

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