Dialling in A Dial - more than just a'round

Interactions 2016

Scott Hewitt


One of the most common hardware interfaces, the simplest to make in many software environments and littered throughout the history of electronic music is the lowly dial. Even in the current age of mobile touch interfaces representations of the dial still exist. Undeniably the dial offers a comfortable composition interface and a familiar performance gesture device, features which make it a common choice. However often these representations of dials are simplistic and the behaviour offered by the dial interface predictable and more critically, uninteresting. What if the accessibility, ease of use and familiarity of the dial could be combined with character traits and historically relevant failings? Features that may impart more creativity in compositional use and gesture in performance than the typical dial behaviour. This work in process ‘Dialling in A Dial’, initially implemented within Max For Live, envisions and implements additional dial behaviours seeking to explore methods of imparting more complex time based gestures to the common dial interface. Informed by consideration of existing interfaces, historical dials and analogue hardware methods the ‘Dialling in A Dial’ collection aims to facilitate more dynamic and interesting interactions in both compositional experimentation and performance gesture. Rather than seeking to establish a new musical interface ‘Dialling in A Dial’ looks to explore and focus on possibilities within the familiar software dial interface.


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