The Body as Musical Instrument

Tanaka, Atau and Donnarumma, Marco. 2018. The Body as Musical Instrument. In: , ed. UNSPECIFIED 1 Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190636234 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter explores the possibility of thinking of the human body as musical instrument. It builds on the philosophy of phenomenology to discuss body schemata that might be considered “instrumental” and discusses the diversity of bodies proposed by body theory to consider the incorporation of digital technology. Concepts of embodied interaction from the scientific field of human–computer interaction are discussed with an eye toward musical application. The history of gestural musical instruments is presented, from the Theremin to instruments from the STEIM studio. The text then focuses on the use of physiological signals to create music, from historical works of Lucier and Rosenboom to recent performances by the authors. The body as musical instrument is discussed in a dynamic of coadaptation between performer and instrument in different configurations of body and technology.

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Book Section

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Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press:


digital musical instrument, EEG, EMG, MMG, musical gesture, embodied interaction

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Centre for Sound, Technology & Culture (CSTC)


1 July 2017Accepted
1 July 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Sep 2018 09:15

Last Modified:

04 Oct 2021 08:38


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