guitamaton from Ian Hattwick on Vimeo.

Guitamaton is a computer controlled musical instrument which explores the percussive and resonant qualities of the acoustic guitar. It melds the precision of microprocessor control with the unpredictability of vibrating metal and wood, and brings an added level of embodiment to computer based music by placing the sound creation process firmly in the physical world.

My interest in the rhythmic modality of african music has led me to consider the ways a guitar can function as a percussion instrument. Guitamaton uses custom made hardware controlled with a microprocessor to play the guitar both as a simple drum and as a prepared string instrument. At the same time, I am interested in using microprocessors to control and modify the sound of acoustic instruments, in this case taking advantage of the acoustic properties of the guitar body to augment and extend the guitar’s timbal range. Placed within the body of the guitar are microphones and speakers which use feedback to enhance the sound of the guitar. This system also allows Guitamaton to use its resonant body to project sounds created by external sources.