What makes our relationship with music particularly interesting is that it is inherently a socio-cultural activity, supporting a diverse range of interactions and social or individual goals. In our relationship with music, socio-cultural factors (shared ideas, expectations, believes, interpretations, etc.) and technological aspects set conditions for us, for the interactions we develop and for the musical experience we create with musical instruments. Opening up a new field of inquiry around socio-cultural and techno-scientific conditions of digital musical instruments in our research, we question, what has changed in our relationships with musical instruments, compositions, performances and musical experiences, what do today’s instruments inspire us to do differently?

DMI Research


Journal of New Music Research; Special Issue on Socio-cultural Role of Technology in Digital Musical Instruments

Taylor & Francis / Routledge 2021

The upcoming special issue of the Journal of New Music Research is the outcome of the sympoisum that we organised in Oodi Helsinki in November 2019 on “Socio-cultural role of technology in digital musical interactions”. A diverse group of expert scholars, artists, musicians, practitioners from musicology, music performance, new interfaces for musical expression, sound and music computing and postphenomenology studies participated in a two days discussion on issues and challenges in social aspects of digital musical instruments and music technology. he articles in this issue come from diverse academic and artistic directions by Don Ihde, Stony Brook University, Marc Leman, University of Ghent - Tarja Rautiainen, University of Tampere Finland - Taina Riikonen, University of Tampere Finland - Thor Magnusson, University of Sussex - Claudia Molitor, University of London - Koray Tahiroğlu, Aalto University and Simon Waters, The Queen's University Belfast / Orpheus Instituut Gent.

Digital Musical Instruments (online talk)

Maçka Music Technology Days V / İTÜ TMDK Müzik Teknolojisi Bölümü, February 18

In digital music practices, musicianship, technology, composition and the performance environment are all often conceptualised to the degree that they become embedded in people’s musical instrument building practice, thinking about music, themselves and their relationship with their communities. This embedded practice feeds into the music itself, which further impacts audience experience. I will briefly talk about in what ways we apply this embedded practice in our artistic research projects.


Uncertain Practices

Ars Electronica Garden Espoo/Helsinki / 9 - 13 September

Spring 2020 marked a period of enhanced uncertainty all around the world with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing societies into lockdown. The situation brought up societal and governance challenges that were further internalized into individuals’ thinking and their relationships as communities and with the world at large. Being uncertain also requires that one be able to cope with doubt, something 2020 took to unusual lengths. The garden presents three artists within the framework of uncertainty, including studio visits, demonstrations, talks and a musical performance. The presentations by Koray Tahiroğlu, Laura Beloff and Andy Best will be streamed and followed by live sessions for further dialogue with the audience. The garden events are produced by Aalto Studios at Aalto University.

Uncertainty with AI-terity (Music Performance)

Ars Electronica Gardens Channel / Fri Sep 11, 2020, 12:00 pm - 12:10 pm (UTC +1) Sat Sep 12, 2020, 2:00 am - 2:10 am (UTC +1)

The composition Uncertainty keeps the musician in a hesitant state of performance, providing a non-rigid but identifiable musical events, followed by ever shifting new sounds. Uncertainty is a composition written for the AI- terity instrument that comprises computational features of a particular artificial intelligence (AI) model to generate relevant audio samples for real- time audio synthesis. The unusual behaviour of the Al-terity puts the performer in an uncertain state during performance. Together with being able to move through timbre-changes in sonic space, the emergence of new sounds allows the musician to explore a whole new range of musical possibilities. Composition turns into a continuous state of playing, reformulating an idiomatic relationship with the Al-terity and opening up a fresh variety of musical demands.

Al-terity: Non-Rigid Musical Instrument with Artificial Intelligence Applied to Real-Time Audio Synthesis

NIME 2020 / Koray Tahiroğlu, Miranda Kastemaa and Oskar Koli

A deformable musical instrument can take numerous distinct shapes with its non-rigid features. Building audio synthesis module for such an interface behaviour can be challenging. In this paper, we present the Al-terity, a non-rigid musical instrument that comprises a deep learning model with generative adversarial network architecture and use it for generating audio samples for real-time audio synthesis. The particular deep learning model we use for this instrument was trained with existing data set as input for purposes of further experimentation.

Digital Musical Instruments as Probes: How computation changes the mode-of-being of musical instruments

Organised Sound (Open Access) / Koray Tahiroğlu, Thor Magnusson, Adam Parkinson, Iris Garrelfs and Atau Tanaka

This article explores how computation opens up possibilities for new musical practices to emerge through technology design. Using the notion of the cultural probe as a lens, we consider the digital musical instrument as an experimental device that yields findings across the fields of music, sociology and acoustics. As part of an artistic-research methodology, the instrumental object as a probe is offered as a means for artists to answer questions that are often formulated outside semantic language.

Idiomatic Patterns and Aesthetic Influence in Computer Music Languages of musical instruments

Organised Sound (Open Access) / Andrew McPherson and Koray Tahiroğlu

It is widely accepted that acoustic and digital musical instruments shape the cognitive processes of the performer on both embodied and conceptual levels, ultimately influencing the structure and aesthetics of the resulting performance. In this article we examine the ways in which computer music languages might similarly influence the aesthetic decisions of the digital music practitioner, even when those languages are designed for generality and theoretically capable of implementing any sound-producing process.


Symposium on Digital Musical Interactions

OODI Maijansali, Helsinki / 14 November

The symposium, Socio-Cultural Role of Technology in Digital Musical Interactions, will discuss critically our relationships with music and digital musical instruments, exploring how these new relationships build embodied behaviours, expectations, beliefs, interpretations and actions in various ways we practice and act on music through digital technologies. This symposium will bring together expert scholars, artists and practitioners from the musicology, music performance, new interfaces for musical expression, sound and music computing and postphenomenology studies. The confirmed participants are; Don Ihde, Stony Brook University, Marc Leman, University of Ghent - Tarja Rautiainen, University of Tampere Finland - Taina Riikonen, University of Tampere Finland - Thor Magnusson, University of Sussex and Simon Waters, The Queens University Belfast.

Technology-assisted Creativity: from Human to Post-Human

Keynote / BOZAR, Brussels 17 October

In this talk I will introduce our current research on digital musical instruments (DMIs) in which autonomous and intelligent computational features are applied to music generation with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) tools. I argue that these advanced intelligence features bring in independent decision-making technology into our relationship with musical instruments with a sense of interacting with "something other than me”. This alterity relations with DMIs (Ihde 1990) contribute in positive ways to the co-created arts with machine learning and AI.

AI x Music Festival / Ars Electronica

Exhibition / Talk / Workshop / Linz, 5-9 September

I was invited to give a talk in AIxMusic Festival at Ars electronica on "Intelligent Sonic Agents: Otherness of Digital Musical Instruments" and a workshop on "Digital Musical Interactions" and also presented our NOISA project in AIxMusic exhibition.

London Workshop

Goldsmiths, University of London, 15 February

The collected, analysed and synthesised data in study 1 was discussed and qualified for further development during this workshop. The initial findings has already been reported for further development in a journal publication, whicvh will be published in Organised Sound special issue in 2020.