Anna Xambó during the 'making off' of the video-recorded SMC 2020 keynote.

This is a brief follow-up of my keynote at the Sound and Music Computing 2020 conference. It has been a great honour to give the open keynote of the Sound and Music Computing 2020 conference (24-26 June, 2020). Due to COVID-19, the organisers of SMC 2020 have come up with an excellent alternative virtual conference, where video presentations are combined with live Q&A sessions. I am very happy to be part of this adventure on finding alternatives to traditional conferencing.

The whole process of preparing this keynote has been both intense and rewarding. And, as always, talking to people is essential! We have shared discoveries and progress with Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, who is giving his keynote “A Beautiful Mess: tales of in-between-ness in SMC research” on Friday 26 June 2020, don’t miss it! We have also discussed ideas with my DMU colleagues during our one-to-one meetings and our weekly MTI^2 virtual pub. We have coordinated with Karolina Jawad so that we could show a representation of her master thesis’ work. And Gerard Roma has been listening and advising throughout the whole process.

Next, you can find the video of my keynote and Q&A, and below there is the bibliography list, as requested by some attendees. The conference will keep going during Thursday 25 and Friday 26, 2020. You can find all the information on the conference website, with links to the video streaming on “Virtual Venues”.


Collaborative/Participatory Music Experiences: A Dialogue Between SMC and HCI

Music has been a topic of inspiration in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) since its beginning in the 1970s-1980s. SMC has borrowed HCI methods and theories as part of its agenda since its inception. In this keynote presentation, I will reflect on how HCI has inspired my SMC work, focusing on the creation of new collaborative and participatory experiences for music performance. I will present several projects that showcase different interaction approaches to digital musical instrument design: tangible, mobile, wearable, and laptop-based interactions. In turn, I will discuss the implications for the two fields. Looking forward, we will see how both fields are evolving rapidly and adapting to new socio-technical changes, such as the control of AI, the ubiquitous digital interfaces, and the worldwide hyper-connectivity, to name a few. I will consider how these transformations are shaping new music experiences for collaboration and participation, as well as the potential synergies with HCI perspectives that incorporate ideas from feminism, decolonisation, and sustainability, among others.

Anna Xambó is a Senior Lecturer in Music and Audio Technology at De Montfort University and an experimental electronic music producer. She studied HCI and music technology at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), and completed her PhD in computer-supported collaboration on interactive tabletops for music performance at The Open University (Milton Keynes, UK). Her passion for sound and music computing kept being nurtured as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Music Technology and Digital Media Program at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA, USA), postdoctoral research assistant at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London (UK), and Associate Professor in Music Technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim, Norway). Her research and practice focus on new interfaces for music performance looking at live coding, collaborative and participatory music systems, and multichannel spatialisation. She has also a special interest in improving the representation of women in music technology, with leading roles in two organisations: WoNoMute (2018-2019, NTNU/UiO) and Women in Music Tech (2016-2017, Georgia Tech).


Link to video here.


Additional Bibliography

  • Ashby, S., Hanna, J., Matos, S., Nash, C., & Faria, A. (2019). Fourth-Wave HCI Meets the 21st Century Manifesto. In Proceedings of the Halfway to the Future Symposium 2019, pp. 1-11.
  • Bardzell, S., & Bardzell, J. (2011). Towards A Feminist HCI Methodology: Social Science, Feminism, and HCI. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp. 675-684.
  • Frid, E. (2019). Diverse Sounds: Enabling Inclusive Sonic Interaction Design. PhD thesis, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Holland, S., Wilkie, K., Mulholland, P., Seago, A. (Eds.) (2013). Music and Human-Computer Interaction. Springer.
  • Buxton, B. (2007). Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.
  • Holland, S., Mudd, T., Wilkie, K., McPherson, A., Wanderley, M. (Eds.). (2019) New Directions in Music and Human-Computer Interaction.
  • Jawad, K., Xambó, A. (2020) How to Talk of Music Technology: An Interview Analysis Study of Live Interfaces for Music Performance among Expert Women. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Live Interfaces (ICLI 2020). Trondheim, Norway.
  • Miranda, E. R., Wanderley, M. M. 2006. New Digital Musical Instruments: Control and Interaction Beyond the Keyboard. A-R Editions, Middleton, WI, USA.
  • Poupyrev, I., Lyons, M.J., Fels, S., Blaine, T. (2001). New Interfaces for Musical Expression. In Proceedings of CHI’01 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 491–492.
  • SMC Roadmap (online):
  • Shneiderman, B. (2003) Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.
  • Stilgoe, J., Owen, R., Macnaghten, P. (2013). Developing a Framework for Responsible Innovation. Research Policy 42:9, 1568–1580.


Many thanks to the conference organisers Andrea Valle, Charalampos Saitis and Simone Spagnol ‎for their invitation, and thanks to Carlo Barbagallo (Control Room Conservatorio Torino) for the technical support. Also thanks to Leigh Landy, Sven-Amin Lembke, Susanne Grunewald and all the MTI^2 family for their support, as well as Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, Leigh Landy, Karolina Jawad, Sebastià Xambó and Gerard Roma for their conversations and perspectives.