Gumboots interface

Ephemeral Gumboots is a human/computer-dance/music interactive system.

It can be a game (for anyone to try) and an interface through which the professional gumboot dancer can create digital music with his/her body. It is also a dynamic system in which the composer can explore different compositional opportunities presented by having real-time rhythmical input from a dancer.


The participant puts the boots on, straps the cables round the waist and dances. As the bodyweight causes pressure on the sensors in the soles of the boots, it sends a MIDI note-on message with a velocity value. Each slap and stomp triggers a sound and the velocity value (how hard or soft it is struck) affects dynamic sonic and spatial parameters of that sound and/or the master sound.

There are four types of sound responses. One type is a sound that sustains for as long as you make contact with the sensor and stops when you break that contact. The second sound response is short and percussive, it ends quickly regardless of how long you hold it. The third type of sound response is the triggering of a musical loop until the next hit on that specific sensor triggers the next sound and ends the current loop. The fourth type is a sound that triggers once only. This is similar to the percussive sample, but with a tail that completes itself and lingers longer than the physical hit.

By South African composer, producer and performer Cobi van Tonder.


Via networked_performance.