'Glover' software for expressive control of music launched

Media Relations Team, 11 February 2021

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A hand shaped with finger and thumb together in front of a laptop screen.

Music producers and performers can now use a desktop application called Glover that translates their movements into music.

Originating from research at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), the application is compatible with a range of motion tracking devices to allow expressive control of music.

The software was launched by music technology company MiMU, originally set up by Grammy award-winning musical artist Imogen Heap, alongside partners, including UWE Bristol’s Dr Tom Mitchell, who developed the prototype version of the Glover software.

The company is already known for the MiMU gloves, a wireless, wearable, gestural musical instrument and controller. Imogen and other artists including Ariana Grande have famously used the gloves within their music performances.

Glover was initially used to receive data from the MiMU gloves and it has since been expanded to support more devices including iPhone, Leap Motion, as well as a micro:bit, a device that musicians and makers can attach to any device to create their own instrument. Musical creators can also download MiMU’s free ‘Gliss’ app, enabling them to use their smart phone to create music in conjunction with Glover.

The software lets users connect their motion tracking devices to music software such as Ableton Live, Mainstage or Logic Pro. State-of-the-art gesture recognition algorithms then analyse incoming movement data and map the gestures to MIDI or OSC, which are both common data formats for communicating between music software and hardware.

Customising postures means musicians can design the gestures they use to make their music, for example setting a ‘fist’ to start recording a loop or move their hand upwards to add reverb to their voice. As the user creates these connections between movement and music, they develop their own unique musical language to interact physically with their sounds and effects.

Dr Tom Mitchell, who is an Associate Professor in creative technologies at the University, said: “Our main aim was always to allow artists like Imogen to map gestures to sound and express themselves without us having to get involved. We have now achieved this with Glover and are pleased to open this up to many other artists and performers, who can now benefit from this user-friendly and affordable way of enhancing their creativity. We are excited to see how people use Glover to express themselves musically.”

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