My research is aimed at critically assessing the impact of technology on music creation, learning, and consumption and at designing alternative futures by drawing inspiration from methodologies and epistemologies from different disciplines, among which Human-Computer Interaction, Sociology, and Philosophy. Specifically, I am currently involved in research projects in these three areas:
- Music streaming critique
Music streaming platforms embed hidden surveillance practices that are not only aimed at selling user profiles to advertisers (to enable them to target ads more precisely at consumers), but also at adjusting the content that is presented to the user, thus exerting control over their preferences by curating, promoting, and recommending content. Furthermore, Spotify has recently revealed plans to develop tools that further exploit user listening data to directly control the creation of new music. My research is focused on analysing the consequences of data surveillance for music listening and creation.
- Digital Musical Instruments Design
I am interested in the critical analysis and innovation in the design of digital musical instruments (DMIs). I have published several articles in which I identified and discussed the problem of DMIs longevity: although many new DMIs are invented every year, nearly all of them fail to go mainstream. I suggest this issue should be addressed through a holistic approach, combining knowledge and methods from different disciplines - HCI, Embedded Cognition, and Philosophy of technology. I am also involved in projects on instruments augmentation, especially electric guitars, and on the design of accessible musical instrument.
- Technology for Music Education
With colleagues from the Music Education Department at the University of Auckland we looking at the countless apps and physical interfaces that promise to teach people how to play a musical instrument quickly and easily. These companies pitch that we should move on from spending thousands of hours learning a new instrument; rather they propose a paradigm based on oversimplifying music making (playing the right note at the right time). Despite these promises, there is little understanding on whether this paradigm actually works and whether the skills that are acquired with these apps can be transferred to play a traditional, more nuanced, instrument.