Henrique Portovedo, Paulo Ferreira Lopes

CITAR: Catholic University of Porto; McGill University Montreal

Composition Models for Augmented Instruments and New Interfaces: HASGS as Case Study

This paper discusses the relation between Augmented Instruments and Composition Models imposed by new interfaces for musical expression. Augmented instruments are defined as “acoustic (sometimes electric) musical instruments extended by the addition of several sensors, providing performers the ability to control extra sound or musical parameters”. Traditional music instruments and digital technology, including new interfaces for music expression, are able to influence and interact mutually creating Augmented Performance environments. The framework presented here is based on the system HASGS, Hybrid Augmented Saxophone of Gestural Symbioses. The repertoire for this systems has been developed by composers as P. Ferreira Lopes, S. Engart, R. Duplessis, P. Louzeiro, G. Silvi, N. Canot, among others. The system was intended to retain the focus on the performance of the acoustic instrument, keeping gestures centralised into the habitual practice of that instrument, reducing the potential use of external devices as foot pedals, faders or knobs. Most of the augmentation processes related to musical performance occurring when prototyping augmented instruments, result by the mere improvisational intentionality, lacking on the exploration of complex features. The technology chosen to prototype HASGS was able to allow the realisation of extremely complex musical outcomes and effects, in which, the compositional techniques being developed for the system have a fundamental role, contributing for the potential and the extension of its overall sonic resources. Both, the system augmentation and compositional techniques, aimed to highlight and serve an aesthetic intention or musical rhetoric. For this, composers and performer were able to redefine performance control, sound parameters and notation. HASGS propose a paradigm change in order to reduce the consequences of a merely improvised performance and absence of notated repertoire. In this scope, we discuss how notation and composition can be affected by this type of interfaces, at the same time as, how the interface of the system evolved due to the new notational aesthetics contributing for cross-range complex knowledge. This work has been developed at CITAR – Portuguese Catholic University, ZKM Karlsruhe and CREATE UC Santa Barbara.

Keywords: Augmented Instruments, Live electronics, New Interfaces


Henrique Portovedo has found its’ place in contemporary music by working with composers such as R. Barret, H. Kiama, P. Ferreira Lopes, P. Ablinger, P. Niblock, M. Edwards, I. Silva, S. Carvalho, M. Azguime,K. Essl, H. Correia, among others. Portovedo has more than 40 works for saxophone dedicated to him including some Saxophone Concertos. Co-founder of QuadQuartet and Artistic Director of Aveiro SaxFest, he recorded for several labels including Universal, Naxos and R ́ Roots Productions. Was awarded with several Trinity Music Awards in London, Prémio Jovens Criadores 2012 by the Portuguese Institute of Art and Ideas and received the Award by the Portuguese National Centre of Culture in 2014. Henrique is a PhD researcher at CITAR, Oporto supported by FCT and Fulbright Foundation. Henrique is member of the European Saxophone Comite, President of the Portuguese Saxophone Association and was the artistic director of the European Saxophone Congress EurSax Porto ́17.


Between 1995 and 1997 Paulo Ferreira-Lopes studied composition in Paris with Emmanuel Nunes, Antoine Bonnet and Computer Music with Curtis Roads. In 1996 he received a Master in Composition at the University of Paris VIII under the advice of Horacio Vaggione. In 1996 further studies in composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the “Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik”, Darmstadt. Also in 1996, distinguished as Researcher with a scholarship of the French Government by the “Ministere de la Recherche” at the “Departement d’Esthétique et Technologies des Arts” of University of Paris VIII. Founder and Director (between 1992/95) of the Electronic Music Studio C.C.I.M. Founder and Director (2000) of the Summer Workshops – olhAres de Outono at Portuguese Catholic University. Since 1998, artist in residence and researcher at ZKM – Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie – Karlsruhe Germany. Since 2002, member from the European Parliament of Culture. In 2004 he received the Doctor degree from the University of Paris VIII. Founder and Director from the Research Centre for Science and Technology in Art CITAR (2004/07) and Professor at Portuguese Catholic University. Since 2007 invited Professor at Karlsruhe Music University – Music Informatic Departement.