Skip to main content
School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Dr Andrew McPherson


Reader in Digital Media

Telephone: +44 20 7882 5774
Room Number: Engineering, Eng E108
Office Hours: Monday 15:00-16:00, Wednesday 14:00-15:00


Music and Audio Programming (Postgraduate/Undergraduate)

This module will introduce a broad class of principles of programming music and audio systems, with a particular focus on real-time digital signal processing on embedded hardware. Students will develop audio projects using the Bela embedded hardware platform, which is based on an ARM Cortex-A series processor, an architecture also commonly found in mobile devices. This is a project-based module, with the overall mark determined by two smaller assignments and one more extensive final project. It is expected that students already understand basic digital signal processing theory and have a moderate familiarity with programming in C, C++ or a similar language.


Research Interests:

I am an electrical engineer and a composer by training, and my research interests lie at the boundaries between music composition and performance, analog and digital hardware design, digital signal processing and human-computer interaction. I am particularly interested in creating new expressive tools for musicians, including electronically-augmented acoustic instruments, novel hardware/software interfaces for live performance, and intuitive mapping strategies between gesture and sound. I'm also interested in quantitative modelling of expressive performance, focusing especially on the link between expressive intent and physical gesture.
As a classically-trained musician, I believe that computing can have a place in even the most traditional arts venues, and I emphasise the importance of getting research products into the hands of musicians and artists, and indeed involving artists throughout the research process.


    • Lepri G, Mcpherson A, Bowers J (2022), Useless, not Worthless: Absurd Making as Critical Practice ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems

    • Robson N, Bryan-Kinns N, Mcpherson A (2022), On mediating space, sound and experience: interviews with situated sound art practitioners $nameOfConference

    • Benito Temprano A, Mcpherson AP (2021), A TMR Angle Sensor for Gesture Acquisition and Disambiguation on the Electric Guitar Audio Mostly 2021 (AM'21). Sonic experiences in the era of the Internet of Sounds

    • Moro G, McPherson AP (2021), Performer experience on a continuous keyboard instrument $nameOfConference

    • Reed CN, McPherson AP (2021), Surface Electromyography for Sensing Performance Intention and Musical Imagery in Vocalists $nameOfConference

    • Moro G, Mcpherson A (2020), A platform for low-latency continuous keyboard sensing and sound generation International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Martelloni A, Mcpherson A, Barthet M (publicationYear), Percussive Fingerstyle Guitar through the Lens of NIME: an Interview Study New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME)

    • Lepri G, Mcpherson A, Nonnis A et al. (2020), Play Make Believe: Exploring Design Fiction and Absurd Making for Critical NIME New Interfaces for Musical Expression Workshop (NIME '20), Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham, UK.

    • Lepri G, Mcpherson A, Bowers J (2020), Useless, not Worthless: Absurd making as critical practice $nameOfConference

    • Mcpherson A, Lepri G (2020), Beholden to Our Tools: Negotiating with Technology while Sketching Digital Instruments New Interfaces For Musical Expression

    • McPherson A, Tahlroǧlu K (2020), Idiomatic Patterns and Aesthetic Influence in Computer Music Languages $nameOfConference

    • Mice L, Mcpherson AP (2019), Embodied Cognition in Performers of Large Acoustic Instruments as a Method of Designing New Large Digital Musical Instruments Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research

    • Armitage J, McPherson A (2019), Bricolage in a hybrid digital lutherie context Proceedings of the 14th International Audio Mostly Conference: A Journey in Sound

    • Armitage J, Mcpherson A (2019), Bricolage in a hybrid digital lutherie context: a workshop study Audio Mostly

    • McPherson A (2019), Personal take: Augmenting musical performance $nameOfConference

    • Nordmoen C, Armitage J, Morreale F et al. (2019), Making sense of sensors: Discovery through craft practice with an open-ended sensor material $nameOfConference

    • LEPRI G, MCPHERSON A (2019), Fictional Instruments, Real Values: Discovering Musical Backgrounds with Non-Functional Prototypes New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • LEPRI G, MCPHERSON A (2019), Making Up Instruments: Design Fiction for Value Discovery in Communities of Musical Practice Designing Interactive Systems

    • Harrison J, McPherson AP, Chamberlain A (2019), Accessible instruments in the wild: Engaging with a community of learning-disabled musicians $nameOfConference

    • Hazzard A, Greenhalgh C, Kallionpää M et al. (2019), Failing with style: Designing for aesthetic failure in interactive performance $nameOfConference

    • Pardue LS, McPherson A (2019), Real-Time Aural and Visual Feedback for Improving Violin Intonation. $nameOfConference

    • McPherson A, Benford S (2019), Music, Design and Ethnography: An Interview with Steve Benford $nameOfConference

    • MCPHERSON A, MORREALE F, HARRISON J (2019), Musical Instruments for Novices: Comparing NIME, HCI and Crowdfunding Approaches $nameOfConference

    • Turchet L, McPherson A, Fischione C (2019), Smart instruments: Towards an ecosystem of interoperable devices connecting performers and audiences $nameOfConference

    • McPherson A, Verplank B (2019), The Poetry of Strange Connections: An Interview with Bill Verplank $nameOfConference

    • Holland S, Mudd T, Wilkie-McKenna K et al. (2019), Understanding Music Interaction, and Why It Matters $nameOfConference

    • MORREALE F, ARMITAGE J, MCPHERSON A (2018), Effect of Instrument Structure Alterations on Violin Performance $nameOfConference

    • ZAPPI V, MCPHERSON A (2018), Hackable Instruments: Supporting Appropriation and Modification in Digital Musical Interaction $nameOfConference

    • JACK RH, MEHRABI A, Stockman T et al. (2018), Action-sound Latency and the Perceived Quality of Digital Musical Instruments: Comparing Professional Percussionists and Amateur Musicians $nameOfConference

    • BUYS K, MCPHERSON A (2018), Real-time bowed string feature extraction for performance applications Sound and Music Computing

    • ARMITAGE JDK, MCPHERSON A (2018), Crafting Digital Musical Instruments: An Exploratory Workshop Study New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • BIN SMA, BRYAN-KINNS N, MCPHERSON AP (2018), Risky business: Disfluency as a design strategy New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Turchet L, McPherson A, Barthet M (2018), Co-design of a smart Cajón $nameOfConference

    • Pardue LS, McPherson A, Overholt D (2018), Improving the instrumental learning experience through complexity management $nameOfConference

    • Turchet L, McPherson A, Barthet M (2018), Real-time hit classification in a smart cajón $nameOfConference

    • MORO G, MCPHERSON A, SANDLER M (2017), Dynamic temporal behaviour of the keyboard action on the Hammond organ and its perceptual significance $nameOfConference

    • Bin SMA, Bryan-Kinns N, McPherson A (2017), Hands where we can see them! Investigating the impact of gesture size on audience perception International Computer Music Conference

    • BIN SMA, MORREALE F, BRYAN-KINNS N et al. (2017), In-the-moment and beyond: Combining post-hoc and real time data for the study of audience perception of electronic music performance ACM Interact 2017

    • HARRISON JTF, McPherson AP (2017), Adapting the Bass Guitar for One-Handed Playing $nameOfConference

    • Jack RH, Stockman T, McPherson A (2017), Rich gesture, reduced control: The influence of constrained mappings on performance technique $nameOfConference

    • MCPHERSON A, ARMITAGE JDK, BIN SMA et al. (2017), NIMEcraft Workshop: Exploring the Subtleties of Digital Lutherie New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Armitage J, Morreale F, McPherson A (2017), "The finer the musician, the smaller the details": NIMEcraft under the microscope New Instruments for Musical Expression 2017

    • Morreale F, Moro G, Chamberlain A et al. (2017), Building a Maker Community Around an Open Hardware Platform ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)

    • MORREALE F, Masu, R, MCPHERSON (2017), Constraining Control in Mixed-Initiative Musical Interfaces MICI 2017: CHI Workshop on Mixed-Initiative Creative Interfaces

    • McPherson A (2017), Bela: An embedded platform for low-latency feedback control of sound $nameOfConference

    • Donovan L, McPherson A (2017), Traveling wave control of stringed musical instruments $nameOfConference

    • Jack RH, Stockman T, McPherson A (2017), Maintaining and constraining performer touch in the design of digital musical instruments $nameOfConference

    • McPherson A (2017), 2012: TouchKeys: Capacitive Multi-touch Sensing on a Physical Keyboard $nameOfConference

    • Liang B, Fazekas G, McPherson A et al. (2017), Piano Pedaller: A Measurement System for Classification and Visualisation of Piano Pedalling Techniques $nameOfConference

    • LIANG B, fazekas G, mcpherson A et al. (2016), Classification of Piano Pedaling Techniques Using Gesture Data from a Non-Intrusive Measurement System DMRN+11: Digital Music Research Network One-day Workshop 2016

    • Jack RH, Stockman T, McPherson A (2016), Effect of latency on performer interaction and subjective quality assessment of a digital musical instrument $nameOfConference

    • McPherson AP, Jack RH, Moro G (2016), Action-Sound Latency: Are Our Tools Fast Enough? Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, July 11-15, 2016

    • BIN SMA, MCPHERSON AP, BRYAN-KINNS N (2016), Skip the Pre-Concert Demo: How Technical Familiarity and Musical Style Affect Audience Response New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • MORO G, Bin A, Jack RH et al. (2016), Making High-Performance Embedded Instruments with Bela and Pure Data International Conference on Live Interfaces

    • MCPHERSON A, Chamberlain A, Hazzard A et al. (2016), Designing for Exploratory Play with a Hackable Digital Musical Instrument ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems

    • Sulyok C, MCPHERSON A, Harte C (2016), Evolving the process of a virtual composer $nameOfConference

    • Holland S, McPherson A, Mackay W et al. (2016), Music and HCI workshop $nameOfConference

    • Jack R, Stockman T, McPherson A (2016), Navigation of pitch space on a digital musical instrument with dynamic tactile feedback $nameOfConference

    • Heinrichs C, McPherson A (2016), Performance-led design of computationally generated audio for interactive applications $nameOfConference

    • Pardue LS, Harte C, MCPHERSON A (2015), A Low-Cost Real-Time Tracking System for Violin $nameOfConference

    • Sulyok C, McPherson A, Harte C (2015), Corpus-taught Evolutionary Music Composition $nameOfConference

    • McPherson A (2015), Buttons, handles, and keys: Advances in continuous-control keyboard instruments $nameOfConference

    • MacRitchie J, MCPHERSON A (2015), Integrating optical finger motion tracking with surface touch events $nameOfConference

    • Donovan L, MCPHERSON A (2015), Active control of a string instrument bridge using the Posicast technique 138th Audio Engineering Society Convention

    • MCPHERSON A, Zappi V (2015), An environment for submillisecond-latency audio and sensor processing on BeagleBone Black 138th Audio Engineering Society Convention

    • Moro G, McPherson AP (2015), Approximating non-linear inductors using time-variant linear filters $nameOfConference

    • Zappi V, MCPHERSON A (2015), Exposing the scaffolding of digital instruments with hardware-software feedback loops New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Menzies DWH, MCPHERSON A (2015), Highland piping ornament recognition using Dynamic Time Warping New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Jack RH, MCPHERSON A, Stockman T (2015), The design of tactile musical devices for the deaf International Conference on the Multimodal Experience of Music

    • Reiss JD, McPherson A (2014), Audio Effects: Theory, Implementation and Application $nameOfConference

    • Zappi V, MCPHERSON A (2014), Design and use of a hackable digital instrument International Conference on Live Interfaces

    • Zappi V, MCPHERSON A (2014), Dimensionality and appropriation in digital musical instrument design New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Heinrichs C, MCPHERSON A, Farnell A (2014), Human Performance of Computational Sound Models for Immersive Environments $nameOfConference

    • Topliss JW, Zappi V, MCPHERSON A (2014), Latency Performance for Real-Time Audio on BeagleBone Black Linux Audio Conference

    • Pardue L, Nian D, Harte C et al. (2014), Low-latency audio pitch tracking: a multi-modal sensor-assisted approach New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Heinrichs C, MCPHERSON A (2014), Mapping and interaction strategies for performing environmental sound IEEE VR Workshop on Sonic Interaction in Virtual Environments (SIVE)

    • Sokolovskis J, MCPHERSON A (2014), Optical measurement of acoustic drum strike locations New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Gábana Arellano D, MCPHERSON A (2014), Radear: a tangible spinning music sequencer New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • MCPHERSON A, Donovan L (2014), The talking guitar: headstock tracking and mapping strategies New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • Vetter L, Terrell MJ, Simpson AJR et al. (2013), Estimation of overdrive in music signals $nameOfConference

    • HEDGES TW, MCPHERSON A (2013), 3D Gestural Interaction with Harmonic Pitch Space Proceedings of the 10th Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC)

    • MENZIES DWH, MCPHERSON A (2013), A Digital Bagpipe Chanter System to Assist in One-to-One Piping Tuition Proceedings of the Stockholm Music Acoustics Conference

    • MCPHERSON A, Pardue L (2013), Near-field optical reflectance sensing for violin bow tracking New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • McPherson AP, Kim YE (2013), Piano Technique as a Case Study in Expressive Gestural Interaction $nameOfConference

    • MCPHERSON A (2013), Portable measurement and mapping of continuous piano gesture New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • MCPHERSON A, Gierakowski A, Stark A (2013), The space between the notes: adding expressive pitch control to the piano keyboard ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)

    • Burdiel E, Vetter L, Simpson AJR et al. (2012), Real-time implementation of glasberg & moore's loudness model for time-varying sounds $nameOfConference

    • Heinrichs C, McPherson A (2012), Recreating the parallax effect associated with Fishtank VR in a Real-Time telepresence system using head-tracking and a robotic camera $nameOfConference

    • Heinrichs C, McPherson A (2012), A hybrid keyboard-guitar interface using capacitive touch sensing and physical modeling $nameOfConference

    • MCPHERSON A, Kim YE (2012), The problem of the second performer: building a community around an augmented piano $nameOfConference

    • MCPHERSON A, Kim Y (2011), Design and applications of a multi-touch musical keyboard 8th Sound and Music Computing Conference

    • Dolhansky B, MCPHERSON A, Kim Y (2011), Designing an expressive virtual percussion instrument 8th Sound and Music Computing Conference

    • MCPHERSON A, Kim Y (2011), Multidimensional gesture sensing at the piano keyboard ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

    • MCPHERSON A, Kim Y (2010), Augmenting the acoustic piano with electromagnetic string actuation and continuous key position sensing International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

    • MCPHERSON A (2010), The magnetic resonator piano: electronic augmentation of an acoustic grand piano $nameOfConference

    • MCPHERSON A, Kim Y (2010), Toward a computationally-enhanced acoustic grand piano ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Extended Abstracts)

Back to top