Music technology ensembles—often consisting of multiple laptops as the performers’ primary instrument—provide collaborative artistic experiences for electronic musicians. In an effort to remove the significant technical and financial barriers that laptops can present to performers looking to start their own group, this paper proposes a solution in the form of the Norns Shield, a computer music instrument (CMI) that requires minimal set-up and promotes immediate music-making to performers of all skill levels. Prior research centered on using alternative CMIs to supplant laptops in ensemble settings is discussed, and the benefits of adopting the Norns Shield in service of democratizing and diversifying the music technology ensemble are demonstrated in a discussion centered on the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley New Music Ensemble’s adoption of the instrument. A description of two software packages developed by the author showcases an extension of the instrument’s abilities to share collaborative control data between internet-enabled CMIs and to remotely manage script launching and parameter configuration across a group of Norns Shields, providing resources for ensembles interested in incorporating the device into their ranks.
Marasco, A. T. (2022). Approaching the Norns Shield as a Laptop Alternative for Democratizing Music Technology Ensembles. NIME 2022. https://doi.org/10.21428/92fbeb44.89003700
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International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression • 2022