Controlling live-electronics with bandoneon sounds using machine learning and extended techniques
This master's thesis explores the augmentation of the bandoneon, an iconic Argentine instrument traditionally associated with tango music, through the integration of live electronics and extended performance techniques. The research delves into the development of a unique system that enables real-time interaction between the performer and the electronics, transforming the bandoneon into a dynamic and expressive instrument. The study investigates the implications of this augmented approach on musical expression, embodiment, and the relationship between the performer and the instrument. Through a series of performances, including collaborations with other musicians and participation in festivals, the thesis examines the practical application and reception of the augmented bandoneon in diverse contexts. The findings contribute to the discourse on the intersection of traditional instruments, technology, and contemporary musical practices, offering insights into the possibilities and challenges of augmenting a culturally significant instrument like the bandoneon.
The practices encompass a variety of contexts, including solo sessions with electronics, acoustic practices, both outdoors and indoors, and collaborative sessions. The objective was consistently focused on discovering diverse approaches to performing with the bandoneon and reflecting on the outcomes. I delved into questions such as: What do these novel modes of expression offer me as a performer and contribute to the overall performance? How am I treating the bandoneon? In what ways can these approaches be integrated into different setups? The acoustic sessions played a pivotal role in sketching ideas that could later be developed in the studio.
I had a total of 13 performances of the composition I made for this research between May and October 2023. These performances took place in various venues, ranging from restaurants to concert halls, both in Finland and abroad. The multiple performances provided valuable insights into the system, enabling me to make adjustments based on the specific characteristics of each venue. I also had the opportunity to test the composition in collaborative performances, with other musicians and even circus performers participating in the setup. In the following section, I will discuss some of these performances and share my observations, realizations, and any necessary changes that were made.