A digital drawing instrument that generates and/or manipulates sound


Created by
Isabella Stefanescu (artistic director)
Klaus Engel (machine developer/interface designer)
Miles Thorogood (sound design contributor)

The performance of a drawing contains information and expression that a finished drawing does not. The Euphonopen is an instrument that captures the complexity of mark-making movement and translates it into sound. Through the Euphonopen, drawing - as a subset of dance - becomes integrated with music and allows us to see and hear the drawing expressed in time as well as space.

Euphonopen imageEuphonopen image

Euphonopen Season, 2014 - Trailer

The Euphonopen prototype uses a Wacom tablet to digitize the movement of a person who draws. It collects data from the drawing 72 times/second, and calculates a series of nine integral and differential variables, such as speed, acceleration, inclination of the pen, position of the tip of the pen on the surface, distance traveled from the start of the drawing, direction of movement, curvature of movement, and pressure. These variables can be converted to a MIDI data stream, directly linked to oscillators, or can be used by a composer or sound artist to program other sounds, using samplings.

Drawing, the technique of making marks with a stylus or a brush on a surface, is a subset of dance; writing is a subset of drawing. A finished drawing may exhibit some characteristics of the movement of the person who made the marks - the location of the mark on the surface, the pressure on the brush/stylus while the mark was being made, the repetition and rhythm of a kind of mark. Other characteristics of the drawing, such as the order the marks were made in, the speed of entry and exit of the instrument, the speed with which the mark was made, the pauses in and between marks can only be guessed at. Therefore the performance of a drawing contains information and expression that a finished drawing does not.

Euphonopen FELT Lecture, 2013