Performance without Barriers: improvising with inclusive, accessible digital musical instruments

Franziska Schroeder, Koichi Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
242 Downloads (Pure)


The ‘Performance without Barriers’ research group (PwB), based at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast has been exploring the potential of sonic arts practices and music improvisation for enhancing social inclusion. To date the group has primarily focussed on research activities related to the inclusive potential of providing access to music improvisation for people with physical disabilities via the use of digital technologies. In this paper we discuss the critical thinking behind our work which draws together the social and connective functions of music making, the open and relational practice of music improvisation and technological solutions utilising open, adaptable and accessible digital technologies. Three case studies of our work are discussed and the voices and experiences of participants in these projects are introduced. In this article we argue that activities in music improvisation have inclusive potential for opening constructive dialogues between performers, their instruments and people of different backgrounds and abilities. Furthermore, as we have approached our research activities reflexively, we reflect on the contradictions, dilemmas and points of learning we have discovered when engaging in collaborative and public engagement work between researchers working in a university context and the wider society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476–490
Number of pages15
JournalContemporary Music Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2019


  • Accessible Music Technology
  • Digital Musical Instruments (DMI)
  • Improvisation
  • Inclusion
  • Music and Disability
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


Dive into the research topics of 'Performance without Barriers: improvising with inclusive, accessible digital musical instruments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this