Vocal and Tangible Technology for Music and Health
Our voice and body are important parts of our self-expression and self-experience. They are also essential for our way to communicate and build relations cross borders like abilities, ages, locations, backgrounds and cultures. Voice and tangibility gradually become more important when developing new music technology for the Music Therapy and the Music and Health fields, due to new technology possibilities that have recently arisen. For example smartphones, computer games and networked, social media services like Skype. In this paper we present and discuss our work with voice and tangible interaction in our ongoing research project. The goal is to improve health for families, adults and children with severe disabilities through use of collaborative, musical, tangible sensorial media. We build on use of voice in Music Therapy and studies by Lisa Sokolov, Diane Austin, Kenneth Bruscia and Joanne Loewy. Further we build on knowledge from Multi-sensory stimulation and on a humanistic health approach. Our challenge is to design vocal and tangible, sensorially stimulating interactive media, that through use reduce isolation and passivity and increase empowerment for all the users. We use sound recognition, generative sound synthesis, vibrations and cross- media techniques, to create rhythms, melodies and harmonic chords to stimulate body- voice connections, positive emotions and structures for actions. The reflections in this paper build on action research methods, video observations and research-by-design methods. We reflect on observations of families and close others with children with severe disabilities, interacting in three vocal and tangible installations.