Digital Sock
: estudo e desenvolvimento de instrumentos musicais digitais com ênfase em interface gestual, análise do movimento e interatividade

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Motivated by the intersection between Arts, Sciences and Technology, we seek through this study investigate the human movement, in order to understand how expressive and musical gestures are conceived during the interactive processes involving body-instrument-environment. In the scope of this research, we developed the Digital Sock, a digital musical instrument, conceived with wearable technology and oriented towards sound control through the movement of the foot. Available in two versions - samples and sound synthesis, Digital Sock was used, during the analysis of the interactive processes, as a pedagogical tool for musical education (initial series), as a communicational stimulus in psychopedagogical contexts involving students with special educational needs; and as a musical instrument in artistic performances with musicians and dancers. The methodological design of this research was guided by a theoretical and practical axis dividing the work into four phases: a) expressive gesture analysis (first phase); b) development of Digital Sock (second phase); c) musical gesture analysis (third phase); d) interactive cycles analysis – pedagogical, psycho-pedagogical and artistic (fourth phase). The first three phases were guided by an exploratory research and the last phase, focused on an action research. The research carried out for the development of this work has the conceptualization of interface, as a space of communication. Each interface is constituted of an energy (physical support), a consciousness (identity) and an interactional knowledge (relationships). In this space, where relations happen in a transient way, allowing the attribution of new meanings to perceived messages, can be human (human interface), instrumental (instrumental interface) or environmental (environmental interface). The communication process between interfaces can be defined by interdependence and transience in the circulation of information. The gesture-sound duality are the interlocutors of the interactive processes between body-instrument-environment. The name we give to this communicational process is Interfaces Theory. Based on this concept, we investigated how the Digital Sock could stimulate the creation of scenic-musical narratives in the pedagogical, psycho-pedagogical and artistic contexts. In the pedagogical context, the instrument showed to be an effective didactic tool, stimulating an active learning which the protagonist of the student is evident. In the psycho-pedagogical domain, the musical device has proved to be an important tool in the stimulation of expression and communication, configuring itself in this sense as an extension of the human body during relationships. In the artistic context, Digital Sock proved to be able to stimulate improvisation, the creation of scenic-musical narratives and performance.
Date of Award20 Jan 2020
Original languagePortuguese
SupervisorPaulo Ferreira-Lopes (Supervisor)


  • Digital sock
  • Gestural interface
  • Digital musical instrument
  • Movement analysis
  • Musical and expressive gesture
  • Interactivity
  • Communication
  • Musical education
  • Performance
  • Special education


  • Doutoramento em Ciência e Tecnologia das Artes

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