[Engineering Report] A combination of handheld controllers and a guitar synthesizer is called “virtual air guitar” (VAG). The name refers to playing an “air” guitar, that is, just acting the playing with music playback, and the term virtual refers to making a playable synthetic instrument. Sensing of the left-to-right-hand distance is used for pitch control, the right-hand movements are used for plucking, and in advanced versions of the VAG the finger positions of both hands can be used for other features of sound production. Three different hand gesture controllers are discussed. The sound synthesis algorithm simulates the electric guitar, augmented with sound effects such as tube amplifier distortion, as well as intelligent mapping from playing gestures to synthesis parameters. The realization of the virtual instrument is described, and sound demonstrations are available on a Web site.
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