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Mehmet Behzat Birtane

MA work

DOKUN; a new expressive controller design for software instruments

Software instruments are very powerful for creating high-quality sounds in an enormous variety. However, their form of sound production starkly contrasts with their traditional, acoustic counterparts.

A software instrument produces sound through sound-generating algorithms. The performer uses controllers to control how the sounds created by a computer will be released. Consequently, this form of sound production, one that involves a separation of sound control and sound generation elements, leads to a sensory disconnection between the musician and the generated sound.

On the other hand, an acoustic instrument is a physical system where the musician is actually performing and being a real part of the process that generates sound. Every input from a musician has a corresponding translation into the sound. Thanks to its physicality, this form of sound production promises a more emotional and tangible music-making experience while creating an intimate relationship between the musician and the instrument.

This very intrinsically engaging quality of acoustic instruments had been the inspiration behind my project and led me to aim for designing a new controller that is as engaging and expressive as acoustic instruments.

DOKUN consists of two parts; a plywood board which musician interacts either with gestures or objects and a keyboard for determining the pitch of the software sound to be manipulated.

The outcome of the project is a controller design that suggests new ways of thinking, new ways of establishing relations, new ways of interacting that lead musicians to create unique textures, nuances and dynamics. Also thanks to its physicality, DOKUN has the potential to provide an emotional and tangible music-making experience while creating an intimate relationship between the musician and itself. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Design Products, 2018

  • I am a designer working on a wide variety of products and spaces. As well as providing product and interior design services, I also design and craft my products under the name of Frontal Factory. My design process is based on a good balance between practice and theory. I highly value hands-on making as well as critical thinking and research.

  • Degrees

  • BSc Engineering, Yildiz Technical University, 2007
  • Experience

  • Founder, Product Designer, Frontal Factory, Istanbul, 2016; Product & Interior Designer, Designist, Istanbul, 2012-2014; Product & Interior Designer, Margo, Istanbul, 2008-2012
  • Exhibitions

  • London Design Festival, 2016
  • Awards

  • First Prize, Ceramics Design Competition, Turkey, 2015; 3rd Prize, Cardboard Packaging Design Competition, Turkey, 2014; Honourable Mention, IMMIb Industrial Design Competition, Turkey, 2008