Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This dissertation is a combination of acoustic and electronic musical creation, acoustic instruments and digital instruments, and a combination of all of these areas. Part I is an original composition for orchestra with the new instrument set as soloist. Part II is an examination of the development and influences of creating a new electronic musical instrument. Part I is a composition for AEMI (the Actuated Embedded Musical Instrument) and orchestra, entitled “Meditation on Solids, Liquids, and Gas.” This composition is a dialogue between the orchestra and instrument, set as an exchange of ideas; sometimes ideas lead to conflict, others lead to resolution. This also serves as a way to feature some of the musical capabilities of this new instrument. Part II is an examination of AEMI and its influences. Chapter 1 includes a discussion of existing instruments whose similar features influenced the development of AEMI: the Theremin, Manta, JD-1, Buchla controller, EVI and EWI, and Chameleon Guitar. While AEMI instrument does not have the same performance mechanics as the Theremin, Evi, or Ewi, understanding the physicality issues of an instrument, like the Theremin, provided insights into creating a versatile instrument that can be easily learned yet have virtuosic character. Ultimately, embedding expressivity, such as subtlety and nuance into the instrument, would be one of the most difficult aspects of creating an instrument and would demand the largest amount of work. Chapter 2 describes the aesthetics, technical aspects, difficulties, and musical abilities of the instrument. Attempts to combine acoustic and electronic music are not novel, the incorporation of acoustically driven resonance by electronic embedded instruments is new. The electroacoustic nature of this instrument is different than most electronic instruments. The controller and user interface is electronically driven, and its speakers/acoustic drivers are embedded within the instrument. This discussion may provide insights to musicians, composers, and instrument makers involved in the finding of new avenues of musical expression.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Beck, Stephen David



Included in

Music Commons