Recent Post

November 5, 2013

Sample Essay on Equipment Analysis

Equipment Analysis



Brief Background

The designing and selection of tasks and environment to fit into unique human limitations and abilities, through tools, equipment and informed decisions, as ‘fitting the system to the human’, is something described by the ergonomics (Green & Hoc, 1991, pp. 291). To reduce waste and errors or to increase production the reduction of unnecessary movements and tasks, reduction of awkward postures by selecting a tool shape, to near or occur at waist height the designing of a lift job, are the typical examples included in the physical ergonomic arena. On the other hand, the fit between the environment, task, machine and the human limitations and cognitive abilities are focused by the cognitive ergonomics.
To avoid catastrophic errors by operators the designing of a nuclear power plant system or an airplane cockpit, to make the majority of people act and understand in the intended manner the designing of a sign and designing a software interface to be easy to use, are examples of cognitive ergonomics applications. In the design of automated, high-tech and complex systems, an influential position is held by cognitive ergonomics. A life threatening accident or decreased quality and production can be resulted through a poor interface design on industrial automated equipment.
A branch of ergonomic that deals with the mental or cognitive ergonomic aspects is known as cognitive ergonomics. The perception of a person and the working of the senses and the manner in which the information is processed by the brain are the aspects included in cognitive ergonomics (Hollnagel, 1997, pp. 1170). Training requirements, reliability, decision-making, mental workload, work stress, and human-computer interaction are the subjects included in cognitive ergonomics.

Scope of the Report

From the perspective of cognitive ergonomics, to understand the sound effect units that are used by musicians and the electric musical instruments is the aim of this project. There were only acoustic instruments fundamentally. Through the time, their designs slightly varied, cons and pros are held by acoustic instruments. Another era of musical design has opened up, and electrical instruments have sprouted, to design variations over the acoustic instruments, through the twentieth century (Jordà, 2004, pp. 321). It was only an amplifier and an electric instrument, at first.
In the very beginning of the electronic instrumentation, an amplifier unit had to be connected to the electric instrument by the musician. Then the sound produced by the instrument will be filtered, altered or amplified by an amplifier. To allow the users vary their own sound by changing parameters and configurations, further electric elements to music were added by the musical engineers and technicians, over the decades. These elements were first added into the amplifiers and the electric instruments. For further alterations over the sound, additional sound effects units were decided to be produced by engineers, after a period.
An overwhelming variation has been resulted by all these additions by equipment of musicians. There was the necessity to present these parameters through an interface as they were too many configurations and options to deal with. At this stand, importance was given to the use of human factor analysis (D'amours, 2013, pp. 90). Due to complex interface and drastic sound alterations, some musicians became left out as these technologies progressed, through the decades. But the creation of an uplifting effect over the course of a song with the most ludicrous effects has been shown by some gifted artists.
Findings onto the music were evaluated, and ways to compromise on their musical perspective were found by these musicians. To support better human factors elements, the question still remains the same regarding the further improvement in these devices.

Description of the Users and the Task, and the Equipment

The Cognitive Task Analysis

Family of methods used to understand the skills and cognitive challenges in complex performance, is known as, cognitive task analysis. A domain of practice, a job or a task, can be the level of analysis. Governed largely by procedures, for understanding performance, the best choice is behavioural task analysis. While, in the field in a wide range of domains, to understand actual performance is delivered by experts; the cognitive task analysis is used. Using their strategies, factors, cues, expertise, and knowledge, the conceptualizing of situations by experts, the cognitive challenges to performance, and capturing of their critical assessments and decisions, are done by cognitive task analysis.
The performance of cognitive skills, like, sense-making, assessment, decision-making and judgment and kinds of tasks performed, are all understand through cognitive task analysis (Chipma &, 2000). Through observations and interviews, the cognitive task analysis knowledge elicitation methods can be applied to teams or individuals.

The Electric Musical Equipments’ Types

An electric trumpet, electric keyboard, electric bass, electric guitars, electric drum, are the types of instruments that have an electric model. An amplifier and an electric instrument connected to the instrument are comprised by the most fundamental electric instrumentation. The amplifier or the other additional devices are serially connected in between their connection or either implanted onto the instrument itself (Kartomi, 2001, pp. 283). In addition to their interface variations, a variation over the types of electric equipment is also brought by them. In accordance to their acoustic versions, the electric instruments are less or more the same.
For example, similarly like the piano, an electric guitar will be the same like an electric keyboard or the acoustic guitar. When the act of playing the instrument is concerned, the sameness is brought. In the same way, a guitar player can truly well perform acoustically and electrically, in other words. But many controls can be acquired by an electric guitar, which is the separation point. The tone or the volume of the standard sound of the instrument can be changed by a set of digital/analogue effects units implanted to the instrument or the few control knobs held by the electric navigation on an instrument.
This depends upon the kind of instrument, for example, electric piano or an electric guitar as more controls are acquired by the electric pianos. Placed inside the amplifier, or the instrument, are the built in effects units, which are known as, the extra digital effects. For the user to navigates through a user interface is included by the amplifier or the instrument since built in affects units are implanted. There are sound effects, like, fuzz and tremolo, echo, volume, pitch shifter, wa-wa, phase shifter, flanging, chorus, distortion, overdrive, ring modulator, Reverb, delay and compressor, apart from the standard sound of the instrument.
In several different formats, presence in the market is held by these effects; they can use either on its own or in a combination and are most popular and notable effects that are used with electric instruments.

The Task and the Users

The sound alteration within its body is produced by the musician itself in acoustic instrumentation. Thus, optimising the desired sound and to alter her or his own actions, the musician is allowed by the tactile feedback from the instrument. Because of which, users are forced by the musicians to reach in deeper to the own musicality. The parameters and configurations of the parameters have to be defined by the musician in electric instrumentation. In certain parts, musician remains uninvolved, and since there are so many options, it still remains unique and artistic.
Moreover, a wide range of possibilities are allowed by the electric instruments, through the user is encouraged to be more innovative. Pre-configured sound combinations and pre-setting are those sound parameters, in which extra features are incorporated by some instruments additionally. Because of this, much attention can be paid to work out the appeal of the unit and the technological complexity and the mind of the artists can be taken off from the music. In other words, rather than pushing the boundaries of creativity, the experience of musician can become more of mind workout by the mind-mapping of the navigation through the interface of the unit or instrument effects (Chadabe, 2002, pp. 1).

Problem Identification

The Relationship between Musical Instruments and Cognitive Ergonomics

In concern to the artistic nature of performance, in compare to the electric instrument, mostly acoustic instruments stand higher. Close to this concept, electric instruments need to be improved to a point. For improving the user interfaces of this musical equipment, the main tool is the cognitive ergonomics analysis (Parncutt &, 1997, pp. 341). To understand the way of working of a mind of a musician and to aid the design work, the elements of cognitive ergonomics can be used. A direct relationship between the musical equipment design and certain elements of cognitive ergonomics exists.

Characteristics of the Users and the Information processing

A general name for the complicated processes concerned to the processes through which a mind goes while executing a task, is known as, human information processing. The short-term sensory stage is the place, where the stimulus is transmitted to the brain, which is received by sensory receptors. Unless any further attention is paid before it decays, for an extremely short period, the memory of the stimuli takes its place in mind, at this point (Schneider & Shiffrin, 1977, pp. 1). However, through the process of execution, response selection, decision-making, and the processes of perception respectively, with the given knowledge of the stimuli, the mind goes, after this point.
Every event takes place within the memory, to the response execution from the stimulation of the receptors. This is the reason due to which a certain amount of ease in task execution occurs gradually as over the same task, the repetition of such processes will be brought.

The Model of Multi-Store Memory

The information will be transferred by the brain to the banks of the short-term memory if a certain amount of attention is paid by a person to a task or an event. The information will be transferred by the brain to the long-term memory if the task is even rehearsed further several times. Within minutes or seconds, the information can decay in sensory memory, such as, the first look at a multi-sound effects unit (Rosen & Engle, 1997, p.211). Depending on the amount of attention being paid and the repetition amount, like, after playing through a few songs the look at multi-sound effects, the information in long-term memory will last the longest up to a lifetime. The cognitive analysis is led by this behaviour of the brain, and depending on the status of the information within the mind, how the response activities and the human’s decision-making are carried out.

The Types of Human Behaviour

The types of human behaviour differ with the conscious level of human action, although it resembles the human memory types. On executing actions, certain procedures or rules are followed by the mind in the rule based behaviour. The rules are followed by the mind uninformed and blindly on what to do in unexpected situations, like, from the instruction manual the going through the features of multi-sound effects. Experience based behaviour is knowledge based behaviour, the person is consciously deciding what to do over the task and is completely in control, after a certain amount of experience with the device, in other words.
This type of behaviour is prepared and knowledgeable for unexpected situations, for example, after thoroughly learning the features and functions the use of a multi-sound affects unit. Where the task is carried out unconsciously like a reflex, is called the skill based behaviour (Laland & Brown, 2011, pp. 321). The task is carried out more fluently as no decision-making is existent. For example, after years of experience with the device, the use of multi-sound effects, the musician is allowed to have more freedom and creative as not thinking and being in control is allowed by this type of behaviour, therefore, for a musician it is the ideal type of behaviour.
The ability of the device to make the user aware of the situation at a specific moment, is known as, situation awareness. Given by the visual and system auditory, this is done by certain outputs. The ease of perception and significance of the outputs define the level of situation awareness. During artistic training, an essential role is played by way of learning to be the repetition of the task and knowledge of the musician. The key point in achieving skill based behaviour and the implanting its knowledge to the long-term memory can be done by the repetition of a task. By catalysing the learning process and making the user aware of everything, the repetition process is eased by the situation awareness in this process.

The Mental Model

The learning process of a device of musician is eased by another cognitive element, i.e. the mental modelling (Kieras & Bovair, 1984, pp. 255). Mental modelling is a subjective process in which hierarchical categorisation of controls and functions are done. The mind of the user is depicted with a map of the device controls.

The Building of a Mental Model by the User with the Help of Devices

To execute the intended fashion with the intended function, the user can be led by affordances, which are subtle cues on the design. To execute the function in the intended way, the user can be led by certain constraints, such as, affordances that are implanted in the design. The functions of a design are presented to the user and are linked together through mapping. To aid mind mapping in interface designs, the laws of perception of Gestalt are commonly used (Wanderley, 2001, pp. 632). Objects forming a specific identifiable shape and closing over a specific area, are assumed to be performing a similar function and are perceived as a group, in accordance to law of closure.
Objects symmetrically identical to each other are assumed to be performing similar functions and are perceived as a group, in accordance to the law of symmetry. Objects of similar shapes are assumed to be performing similar functions and are perceived as a group, in accordance to law of proximity (Fein &, 1993, pp. 157). Objects placed close to each other are assumed to be performing similar functions and are perceived as a group, in accordance to law of proximity.

Musical Practice and Cognitive Ergonomics

Improvement in the musical vocabulary and learning certain patterns of expressions and notes are comprised in training on the musical level. The learning about the use of sound effects by the musician is indeed the same learning procedure. The musician defines the sound of her or his own music in a better way as she or he learns certain combinations of effects. Through ones definition of the sound, the musical training does the trial-errors and the same repetitions. It becomes skill based behaviour, after sufficient efforts, in scientific words.
The ideal musician has to be fully in control of the performance tonally and musically, in order to obtain full control of her or his art. To achieve full artistic expression, the opportunity to be in real-time interaction with equipment and to have full control over her or his equipment, must be availed by the ideal musician. This is not achieved by electric instruments but with an acoustic instrument.

Analysis of the Problem

The Analysis of the Case

In the late sixties, electrical instruments were incorporated by a group of jazz musicians, which due to the technological usage within music was the closest encounter of alienation of musicians. Miles Davis was the leader of this attempt and was a famous jazz trumpet player, who had not gone further than acoustic trumpet (Gabrielsson, 2003, pp. 221). He forced the young musicians who mastered their acoustic skills and force them to use electric instruments. However, sound effects were used by only rock and pop musicians, at that time. What Davis tried to achieve was entirely different, although the influence was undeniable.
The young musicians had entirely acoustic backgrounds, who were gathered by Davis and over electric instruments had no experiences and prejudices. Therefore, the sounds they produced, as a result, were inconsistent, impulsive, spontaneous, abstract and experimental. Although the result of this work, the record released is considered as a master piece. It did get a lot of positive and negative feedback as well as the experimentation level of the whole work was implied. To show prejudice musicians the potential of electric music, was the point of all this effort.
The use of electric was eventually adapted by these young musicians within their music, a music history was evolved by these musicians, under the leadership of Davis and a whole new era where a more dominant role was played by the electric instruments, started.

The Knowledge of Sounds

When perception of different sound tonalities is considered, the phenomenology becomes significant. This is made as a subjective matter since music is a form of art. However, there is no subjectivity existent, when a single sound is introduced to an individual. An idea is not revealed, like the music, by one single touch of a sound (Furnham & Strbac, 2002, pp. 203). As to merely describe this single sound within the objective depths of science, it will be too shallow. The tonality of sound can only be described by experiences of one person, at this point.

The Phenomenology

The perception of reality by the experiences of the mind, the phenomenology remains a split line in between the subjectivity of art and objectivity of science. Edmund Husserl introduced the first theory. The idea of Husserl, about the reality in the universe was related to mind; as the true perception of reality is resulted from the reality shaped by cognitive capacity in one, as own version of reality is produced by the mind. The idea of human and reality by Husserl was based on the introduction of ‘nature of knowing’. However, this idea was later disapproved by Martin Heidegger, who was his student.
The introduction of ‘nature of being’ was the idea of Heidegger related to the universe and human interaction, which states that knowledge was knowable and real. The reality cannot be disapproved or changed by anyone. However, the difference in reality is reflected and perceived by the human body which will be done through experiences of one over the matter in the universe. Therefore, the reflection and perception over the reality of one’s experience will remain subjective and differ; however, the reality will still remain objective. The split line between the artistic knowledge and the scientific knowledge, which was also known as, phenomenological knowledge, was derived by this conflict between the subjective still remaining subjective and the objective still remaining objective.

Cognition, Musician and Phenomenology

The process of constantly being inspired and influenced by works of others is known as, musicianship. The creativity of a musician is derived through this momentum. The reality is perceived and experienced by each body subjectively as the reality is what that has been created by the past musicians; therefore, performing the art of music itself is a phenomenological event. Therefore, depending on personal experience, the reality is reflected subjectively. However, effort to be reflected in a subjective manner is required by the objective reality as the tonality still remains.
A feature on sound effects units of today’s world is implanted by designers, in order to ease this effort. The users are allowed by this feature to play with the sound tonalities that are used in many famous songs. It lacks the subjectivity in reflection, although it seems to be most effective use of sound arrangements. The value of the artwork and the uniqueness are certainly comprised by this feature since the fact the sound, music and art of one person are supposed to be subjective and genuine. On the other hand, in overcoming the alienation of the variety of sounds offered by the technology, this has become an aid and contributed to the inspiration of training musician.

Recommendation Restrictions

A song can be simply performed by the musician in the same way in repetition and before the performances the additional effects and the musical layout are prepared by the musicians, as music markets in today’s world has become so much over the technology. Therefore, expressiveness, spontaneity and improvisational skill have become far meaningful than ever, the effects and the sound controls have seldom become as noticeable dynamic and differentiating, however, the theoretical part of music has truly well kept up with this progression.
A model usage of technology can become through the use of single effects units as the musician can easily be in control with these devices since to configure and to navigate, such simple parameters and a small number of objects are incorporated by them. The direct feedback as a change in the sound is given by the analogue control knobs that are well responsive and resemble the acoustic instrument. It is the one that come closest to acoustic instrumentation in a certain way, although it is not as effective as tactile feedback from an acoustic instrument.
The adaptation period of the musician becomes more convenient as they only add one single effect to the sound. The actual picture of the musical adaptation over technological variations and improvements of today’s world cannot be represented since the ideas revealed in this essay are based on idealistic approaches using scientific knowledge. At its full expression, the artist genuinely owns the art of music, which is a fact. The creativity of one musician can be limited any musician, however, it can be a great inspiration to another. The working of a musician must be analysed and understand in a better way to help the manufacturers of musical equipment industry, which is obviously being done as there are so many different products in the market. This shows that iterate to perfection will be eventually come up with the design of these products, whereas, on the other hand, to reach a common standard, there are still a lot of things to do as many different products exist.


Chadabe, J. 2002, ‘The limitations of mapping as a structural descriptive in electronic instruments’, In Proceedings of the 2002 conference on New interfaces for musical expression, National University of Singapore, pp. 1-5. Retrieved from:
Chipman, S. F., Schraagen, J. M., & Shalin, V. L. 2000, ‘Introduction to cognitive task analysis’, Cognitive task analysis, pp. 3-23. Retrieved from:
D'amours, J. R. 2013, ‘U.S. Patent No. 20,130,118,340’, Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, pp. 90-138. Retrieved from:
Fein, R. M., Olson, G. M., & Olson, J. S. 1993, April, ‘A mental model can help with learning to operate a complex device’, In INTERACT'93 and CHI'93 conference companion on Human factors in computing systems, ACM , pp. 157-158. Retrieved from:
Furnham, A., & Strbac, L. 2002, ‘Music is as distracting as noise: the differential distraction of background music and noise on the cognitive test performance of introverts and extraverts’, Ergonomics, 45(3), pp. 203-217. Retrieved from:
Gabrielsson, A. 2003, ‘Music performance research at the millennium’, Psychology of music, 31(3), pp. 221-272. Retrieved from:
Green, T. R. G., & Hoc, J. M. 1991, ‘What is cognitive ergonomics?’, Le Travail Humain, pp.  291-304. Retrieved from:
Hollnagel, E. 1997, ‘Cognitive ergonomics: it's all in the mind’, Ergonomics,40(10), pp. 1170-1182. Retrieved from:
Jordà, S. 2004, ‘Instruments and Players: Some thoughts on digital lutherie’, Journal of New Music Research, 33(3), pp. 321-341. Retrieved from:
Kartomi, M. 2001, ‘The classification of musical instruments: Changing trends in research from the late nineteenth century, with special reference to the 1990s’, Ethnomusicology, 45(2), pp. 283-314. Retrieved from:
Kieras, D. E., & Bovair, S. 1984, ‘The role of a mental model in learning to operate a device’, Cognitive science, 8(3), pp. 255-273. Retrieved from:
Laland, K. N., & Brown, G. 2011, ‘Sense and nonsense: Evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour’, OUP Oxford, pp. 321-409. Retrieved from:
Parncutt, R., Sloboda, J. A., Clarke, E. F., Raekallio, M., & Desain, P. 1997, ‘An ergonomic model of keyboard fingering for melodic fragments’, Music Perception, pp. 341-382. Retrieved from:
Rosen, V. M., & Engle, R. W. 1997, ‘The role of working memory capacity in retrieval’, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 126(3), p. 211. Retrieved from:
Schneider, W., & Shiffrin, R. M. 1977, ‘Controlled and automatic human information processing: I. Detection, search, and attention’, Psychological review, 84(1), pp. 1-66. Retrieved from:,%20Shiffrin.pdf
Wanderley, M. M. 2001, ‘Gestural control of music’, InInternational Workshop Human Supervision and Control in Engineering and Music, pp. 632-644. Retrieved from:


Post a Comment