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MikroKontrolleur – An instrument to play one’s voice

Created by Katharina Hauke and Dominik Hildebrand Marques Lopes, the MikroKontrolleur is the result of the duo’s ongoing research into working with vocals and electronics live on stage. It is an interface which enables a vocalist to expand the possibilities of his/her voice through live sound manipulation. It consists of a control station that can be attached to any microphone stand with one part played using hands and optional foot pedal to extend manipulation.

MikroKontrolleur is currently designed for solo performance, processing vocals (ranging from speech to throat singing) by means of digital sound manipulation. Like voice, that relies on the air, water, skin, vibrations, to name a few to create sound, Katharina and Dominik have designed an interface that specifically uses body gestures to balance the status of the digital interface while maintaining the range of vocal possibilities.

The setting in mind was a singer on stage with a microphone mounted on a stand. For the task of sound manipulation, the singer could then use established devices such as midi controllers, visual tracking systems or gestural controllers. But with all of these she would find herself in the situation that the gestures she makes (or must then make) in large parts serve the means of controlling rather than to serve their own means: singing. The size of controllers and the size of the gestures required for their control counteracts the dimension of the gestures and body language used by and necessary for a singer (on stage). Visual tracking systems such as the Kinect free the singing body from the restraints of controlling an object however imbedding the gestures in service of singing in the system of gestures in service of control.

The instrument was designed, built and programmed by Katharina Hauke and Dominik Hildebrand Marques Lopes in 2015/2016.

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