Dynamic Sonification as a Free Music Improvisation Tool for Physically Disabled Adults

Alan Lem, Garth Paine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper reports on the development and initial evaluation of a video-based, dynamic, sonification device used with 5 physically disabled adults, recent clients of Creative Music Therapy (CMT). Of particular interest was the extent to which the dynamic properties of the technology could assist the participants to engage in a dynamic musical interaction at the level of autonomy available to physically able people. Each participant took part in 8, half-hour sessions utilizing free interactive improvisation. During the study, several sonic algorithms were trialed and adjusted according to each participant’s movements and preferences. Informing the sonification design was the concept of dynamic orchestration developed by Paine, and real-time sound synthesis. Results indicated that video-based dynamic sonification systems may be used effectively as free improvisation tools with people who have mild physical disabilities, but that modifications may have to be made for people whose movements are more severely restricted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalMusic & Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • creative music therapy
  • dynamic sonification
  • free music improvisation
  • physical disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Music


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