Making music with body and brain electricity

Making music with body and brain electricity

This joint CIRMMT [Axis 3] / OICRM [Axis 1] seminar will provide an opportunity to discuss three research and research-creation projects using electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalography (EEG) in a musical creation context. We welcome composer-researcher Alain Bonardi, professor at Université Paris 8, for a presentation of the BBDMI Body Brain Digital Music Instruments project, Erin Gee, professor of music creation (UdeM), and Felipe Verdugo, pianist-researcher and visiting professor at UdeM.


The BBDMI project: Body Brain Digital Music Instruments

The main objective of the BBDMI project - Body Brain Digital Music Instruments is to produce instrumental prototypes hybridizing EMG and EEG in an open manner (open software and open hardware) and to document them within the framework of open science. We are developing a user-centered experimentation methodology, including experimental and amateur musicians as well as disabled audiences. We are looking for spatial synthesis and processing technics particularly suited to electro-physiological control.

BioSynth: A feminist approach to affective biofeedback for music creation

Erin Gee will present her open-source hardware and software system BioSynth, alongside her research in methods for composing affective biofeedback music inspired by feminist thought. Her presentation will feature several research-creation projects that she has developed in robotics, interactive VR, and live performance.

MappEMG: A Biofeedback Tool to Sense Performers' Muscular Effort in Real Time

In musical performance, gesture is the physical means of translating a musical idea into sound. The vocabulary used by performers to describe certain elements of the expressive content of music often refers to gestural elements such as effort, energy and force. These notions have more to do with the dynamics of movement, including muscular activity, than with the movements themselves. MappEMG is a biofeedback tool designed to capture, process and translate into vibrations the muscular activity of pianists. It has been used to enhance the traditional concert experience as well as to support learning at the instrument.


Alain Bonardi

Alain Bonardi is Professor of Computer Science and Musical Creation in the Music Department at the University of Paris 8, and a composer-researcher. He is head of the Master Musique-Musicologie program at Université Paris 8, and co-director of the Centre de Recherches en Informatique et Création Musicale, part of the MUSIDANSE laboratory. His research focuses on the spatial processing of sound, as well as on the creation of instruments for making music from body and brain electricity (ANR BBDMI project), putting his research-creation hypotheses to the test through the development of open prototypes, notably open source software in the FAUST language.


ANR BBDMI project website: 

Open repository of code developed as part of BBDMI: 

abclib library: 

Erin Gee

Erin Gee (Canada) is a professor in sound art and composition (digital musics area) in the Faculty of music at Université de Montreal, specializing in the application of new and experimental technologies towards multidisciplinary musical creation. Through principles of emotional labor, emotional measurement, emotional performance and emotional reproduction, she has made work in choral composition, ASMR, virtual reality, networked music performance, neural networks and robotics to foreground issues of critical empathy, unconscious sensory programming and divisions between emotion and reason.


Felipe Verdugo

Felipe Verdugo pursues a varied career as a research pianist and pedagogue. He obtained his doctorate in piano performance at the Faculty of Music of the Université de Montréal (UdeM), where he currently teaches as a visiting professor. He has also been an associate professor at the School of Kinesiology and Physical Activity Sciences (Movement Simulation and Modeling Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, UdeM), and a postdoctoral fellow at the Input Devices and Music Interaction Laboratory (McGill University) and at the Expression team (Université Bretagne Sud, Irisa) with the support of an FRQSC postdoctoral fellowship.

His research focuses on various aspects of piano performance: optimization of playing, prevention of injury risks, integration of new technologies into learning and creation in musical performance, the link between gesture and musical expression, and knowledge transfer between the scientific and musical communities.

Web page: 

For further information, please contact caroline[DOT]traube[AT]umontreal[DOT]ca