Right Vibrations: Functionality of Contact Microphones

Contact microphones are frequently regarded with suspicion. More often than not, this is due to their users' wrong expectations. However, a clear definition of their functionality in live-electronic set-ups, especially when looking at traditional instruments with live-electronic extensions, shows that they can be very effective. Indeed, in those cases, they are irreplaceable. This lecture will lead you through the years of experimentation and practical application that have convinced me of their usefulness. Over those years, the development of music technology, particularly the rise of digital technology, has changed part of the hardware but not my line of thinking behind how to apply contact microphones.

Jos Zwaanenburg graduated with distinction from the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatorium in 1985, where he studied flute and composition. In the preceding year, he was one of the prize winners at the Gaudeamus International Interpreters’ Competition, receiving an accolade for performing his own compositions. 

Jos has performed in Europe, the United States, South America, India, the Russian Federation, Korea, and Japan. He has played solo and in orchestras and chamber music ensembles, and he is equally experienced in classical music and improvised music. He is known for his research into extended playing techniques for the flute, which he combines with explorations in performance, theatre, composition, and live electronics. He is also known for initiating the development of the open hole alto flute in collaboration with the Dutch flute makers Eva Kingma and Dirk Kuiper (1986-87). On this instrument, he displayed his command of extended techniques and microtonal inflections.  

CDs of various labels present Zwaanenburg as a flutist, conductor, and composer. Currently, he is a senior lecturer at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Here, he teaches Advanced Rhythm and leads the master track Live Electronics for instrumentalists, established on his initiative in 2012.