The Formonium is a new electronic musical instrument that originates from research into the relationships between shape and sound. Where most instruments maintain the same visual appearance, the Formonium’s shape changes while it’s being played. Its outline influences and adds texture to its sound. To allow the instrument to breach the confines of electronic music, vibration speakers generate haptic feedback in the hands of the musician, which, with the help of highly sensitive sensors, micro movements can be detected for more expressiveness. Through collaborations with musician/composers, the instrument is being explored in its musicality and interaction. As a part of an ongoing research program, we welcome everyone to join us in conversation about the future of hybrid instruments and of musical expressivity.

Developing a musical instrument is a process rather than a goal. For that reason, it is interesting to work with a broad range of users: experienced musicians, amateurs, etc. Because the Formonium demonstrates the relationship between the shape of the instrument and the sound it creates, it was particularly fitting for music education. Formonium kid series was developed especially for children workshops. Five different iterations are now used by Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ to teach children about contemporary music in the Klankspeeltuin sound lab.

This project has been made possible by, among others, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, RS components and ADE Soundlab. It was premiered during ADE 2016.

© 2015-2017 Arvid Jense and Marie Caye