Julian Vogels

Julian Vogels

Music Technologist

I design new kinds of instruments, physical and digital. And algorithms. And Apps.

  What does it mean to design a digital musical instrument?

DMIs are composed of two separate parts: The physical interface, where the interaction takes place, and the sound synthesis on the computer.

Its design implies the knowledge of a musician’s gestural repertoire, the thoughtful application of usability principles and the implementation of sound synthesis and signal processing.

The two parts are brought together with the best possible mapping strategy, which is the most important part of any DMI design.

  Why is mapping so important?

Digital musical instruments brought us the freedom of choosing what we want our controller to sound like. The same device can sound like a bowed string, a wind instrument or a free reed.

But that brings a lot of questions with it. Isn’t it very difficult to learn a new instrument, if the musical gestures don’t intuitively correspond to the logic of the instrument?

The art of choosing the mapping between data signals from sensor input on the device to the sound synthesis engine is a crucial part of bringing a prototype device to success.

  Why embedded systems?

Embedded systems describe a digital musical instrument that is in one piece, works stand-alone and is usually portable.

The sensor data acquisition, the processing of the sensor signals, the mapping and the sound synthesis are carried out in the same physical space.

This is especially interesting for musicians that perform on stage, as they don’t have a long setup time for their gear, as they would with a cabled laptop.
On the other hand, embedded systems are the first step to a marketable consumer product that one day leaves the lab and makes many people happy.


You’ve always hated to practice with a metronome? Well, not anymore. Together with my colleagues from Soundbrenner I develop the first wearable device for musicians – a metronome that you will actually love using.

Instead of that annoying click sound, the Soundbrenner Pulse vibrates to the beat, so you can train your sense of rhythm more naturally. Wear it with a strap or clip it anywhere with magnets. It connects to our iPhone and Android app, packed with tons of features, including many rhythm exercises. In the long run, we want to become the fitness tracker for music, motivating you and tracking your progress.

But we need your support to make it happen! Everything is sorted out, but we don’t have the funds yet to really manufacture it. Share our campaign and of course get one for yourself ;)

Indiegogo campaign 

More great news: I just officially passed my Master’s degree in Music Technology at McGill University Montréal. The thesis deals with Harmonica performance gestures and features an extensive patent review as well as a motion capture study.
I analysed the gestures of five expert harmonica players and drew conclusions for the design of electronic harmonica-type digital musical instruments.
Then, I built a prototype based on the awesome pre-existing device called Jamboxx.

Interested in working with me? Then just shoot me a message, I’m definitely coming over for a coffee.

Be sure to have a look on my Curriculum, and on my   LinkedIn or  Xing profiles.

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