Vision system measures musical performance

MARCH 16, 2009--Musicians can now use 3-D image processing to radically improve their technique, thanks to the latest research in multimedia technology from the University of Leeds in England.

Mar 16th, 2009

MARCH 16, 2009--Musicians can now use 3-D image processing to radically improve their technique, thanks to the latest research in multimedia technology from the University of Leeds in England. Kia Ng of the University's Faculty of Engineering and School of Music has devised i-Maestro as a way to use motion capture to record a musician's posture and movement as they play and then map the results against ideal performance settings.

The system is known as the i-Maestro 3D Augmented Mirror (AMIR) and is a tool for music teachers, students, and experienced or professional musicians to improve their technique. The prototype has been designed for stringed instruments such as violin and cello but could be adapted for other instruments.

Small markers are attached to key points on the instrument, the musician's body and the bow. As the musician plays, 12 cameras record the movement at 200 frames/s and map the instrument in 3-D onto the screen. Bow speed, angle, and position are all measured for real-time analysis and feedback, as is – for violinists – the pressure by which the instrument is held on the shoulder.

Ng has even incorporated a Wii Balance Board to include data on the musician's balance as they play. Until hardware costs reduce to make such systems more widely affordable, he plans to offer musicians the opportunity to use the system at the University of Leeds Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music (http://www.icsrim.org.uk) laboratories on a consultancy basis.

For more information, go to: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/media/press_releases/current09/i_maestro.htm

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