Fragile Instruments: Constructing Destructible Musical Interfaces

Fragile Instruments: Constructing Destructible Musical Interfaces. Don Derek Haddad, Xiao Xiao, Tod Machover, Joe Paradiso, to appear in NIME17.


We introduce a family of fragile electronic musical instru- ments designed to be “played” through the act of destruc- tion. Each Fragile Instrument consists of an analog syn- thesizing circuit with embedded sensors that detect the de- struction of an outer shell, which is destroyed and replaced for each performance. Destruction plays an integral role in both the spectacle and the generated sounds.

This paper presents several variations of Fragile Instruments we have created, discussing their circuit design as well as choices of material for the outer shell and tools of destruction. We conclude by considering other approaches to create intentionally destructible electronic musical instruments.

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