Gesture Description Interchange Format (GDIF)

Participants: Alexander Refsum Jensenius
Joseph Malloch
Stephen Sinclair
Mark T. Marshall
Nils Peters
Marcelo M. Wanderley

Collaborators: Musical Gestures Group,University of Oslo
Music Technology Group, University Pompeu Fabra


Project Type: Protocols and file formats.
Time Period: 2006–present. (Ongoing.)

The Gesture Description Interchange Format (GDIF) is being developed for streaming and storing data of music-related movement. Current general purpose motion/gesture formats developed within the motion capture industry and biomechanical community focus mainly on describing low-level biomechanical properties. We are more interested in describing gesture qualities, performer-instrument relationships, and movement-sound couplings in a coherent and consistent way. A common musical gesture format will simplify working with different software, platforms and devices, and allow for making more flexible NIME and sharing data between institutions.

For realtime applications, we use OSC ( We envisage using SDIF for storing data streams, and XML for storing structured files.