Knurl, an interactive music instrument, is a creation of the composer and cellist Rafaele Andrade that allows a musician to perform live an integrative and creative practice. Knurl has a format of a cello, it runs and modifies live synthesis sounds while can program and plan the development of new ones. In addition, it becomes a platform for communication with the audience, since they also obtain the control of musical creative choices during its performance. Its interface offers the manipulation of up to 4 sounds by potmeters, tasks , machine learning system or a counterpoint.

The concept:

Knurl is a conceptual model based on the practice of diverse voice control, which is defined by the manipulation of voices and sonic layers that doesn't per se obey the same rules and proportions. It was a result of a personal impression towards the standard music making, where artistic quality can be seen as an integrative, inclusive and diverse practice. It also reflects the need and lack of electronic interfaces and instruments that would allow a performer to control and and maintain the development of multiple sound layers with lyrical and diverse approaches of maintenance.


Knurl has possible actuators that can be defined on-the-fly to orient one of the possible 4 sonic layers. Those actuators are: Machine learning system, sound trackers (machine listening), tasks , patterns, envelope or a simple slider (potmeter). They are called and defined when the performer presses the instrument´s buttons.


Understanding music making as an integration of multiple characters, roles and ways of thinking is also achieved when we practice music in a collaborative way. The performance of Knurl is represented by a circle, where audiences can contribute for the manipulation of each voice, seeing their contribution in a visual representation projected on the floor.


The instrument is designed with some ethical values of our current scene, bringing an unstandard vision of creative music production into political, technological and ambiental discussions. This project brings open source practices, sustainable 3d printing, creative coding and sustainable energy sources into the hands of a diverse team composed by local artists, designers, scientists and programmers. The integration of those practices results in a product-model of music practice that stimulates shareability of music control between its audience, the accessibility to a diverse range of possible customization triggers, tasks and voice control of electronic sounds for music composition, and its exploration and accessibility of unconventional tuning systems into today’s standard music practice.


In the past year of development constructing and refining Knurl has became the product of an artistic research organization (Knurl Lab[2]) that aims to introduce music making and artistic quality not as a product of perfection and a virtuosism, but as an integrative, inclusive and diverse practice of culture and human expression. Knurl lab brings creative coding and circular economy into the hardware of music instrument making, dialoguing with political, ambiental and tech and other issues that our music world has been facing (climate change,globalization, etc.).