Performing the Electric Violin in a Sonic Space (2012)

By Alexander Refsum Jensenius (University of Oslo, Department of Musicology) and Victoria Johnson (Norwegian Academy of Music)


This article presents the development of the improvisation piece Transformation for electric violin and live electronics.

The aim of the project was to develop an “invisible” technological setup that would allow the performer to move freely on stage while still being in full control of the electronics.

The developed system consists of a video-based motion-tracking system, with a camera hanging in the ceiling above the stage. The performer’s motion and position on stage is used to control the playback of sonic fragments from a database of violin sounds, using concatenative synthesis as the sound engine. The setup allows the performer to improvise freely together with the electronic sounds being played back as she moves around the “sonic space.”

The system has been stable in rehearsal and performance, and the simplicity of the approach has been inspiring to both the performer and the audience.

Watch and listen



Electric Violin in Digital Space – kritisk refleksjon

Kritisk refleksjon over kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid. Stipendiatprogrammet for kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid ved Norges musikkhøgskole, Oslo 2011

Prosjektet “Electric violin in Digital space” bestod av fire hovedemner, og hvert område har sine spesifikke problemstillinger:

  1. Utforskning av kunstnerisk potensiale i el‐fiolinen
  2. Kunstnerisk bruk av musikkteknologi, særlig arbeid med elektronisk lydbehandling og live styring
  3. Utvidelse av utøverrollen med vekt på medskapning
  4. Formidling og utvidelse av konsertformatet


A video based analysis system for realtime control of concatenative sound synthesis and spatialisation

By Alexander Refsum Jensenius (Department of Musicology, University of Oslo) & Victoria Johnson (Norwegian Academy of Music)


We report on the development of a video based analysis system that controls concatenative sound synthesis and sound spatialisation in realtime during concerts.

The system has been used in several performances, most recently Transformation for electric violin and live electronics, where the performer controls the sound synthesis and spatialisation while moving on stage.


Victorial Counts – A case study with electronic violin bow

By Knut Guettler (Norwegian Academy of Music), Hans Wilmers (Norwegian Centre for Technology, Acoustics, and Music (NOTAM)) & Victoria Johnson (Norwegian Academy of Music)


This paper gives a glimpse into the ongoing process of equipping a violin bow (as well as the violin itself) with electronics adequate for real-time manipulation of the sound.

In this project there exist several sound sources:

  1. the violin sound, which is picked up by built-in microphones of the electric violin,
  2. a number of prerecorded everyday sounds to be cued in by the performer during performance, and
  3. several pre-recorded series of counting, where the performer’s voice is heard.

Controlled by bow gestures these different sounds are filtered through one or more Max/MSP patches followed by playback through a quadraphonic speaker system. From time to time permutations of objects between speakers, including the movement on stage by the performer herself, take place.