Filumis 2 is a novel digital musical instrument that is inspired by a tub bass and has the shape of a mono-cord harp. By measuring the angle and the tension of an elastic rubber rope and extracting features of the direct audio signal, it is possible to perform on it in an expressive manner.
Combining both audio input and sensor input, the instrument depends on a complex mapping scheme as well as on its physical properties. Filumis II drives a scanned synthesis algorithm involving a virtual string and a digital audio effects plug-in. The mapping is very flexible due to the implementation of libmapper as a meta-layer.
In order to provide new possibilities for musical expression, the use of an elastic string as the center piece is explored. As we all are used to the look and feel of a rubber band in our everyday life, its use as the integral part of a gestural controller promises a “low entry fee” and minimal adaption and learning time. The performer knows intuitively how to manipulate a rubber cord to make it sound by plucking and to modify the sound by changing the tension of the cord.
The instrument is played with both hands, where one hand is usually used for instantaneous excitation gestures and the other hand for parametric modification gestures. Structural changes to the instrument can be made through selection gestures.
Due to the dimensions of the instrument and the good tactile feedback of the string, the expressivity and the musical intention of the performer is easily perceived by the audience.
However, to obtain a practiceable and versatile digital musical instrument, the audio input is combined with several sensor input variables that are mapped in a complex way to the sound synthesis and audio effect parameters. The many-to-many mapping encourages the performer to think in a holistic manner, what was found to be beneficial to musical expression.
A novelty provided by Filumis II is the measurement of the pulling force position on an elastic string in three dimensions.