Waving Hello: Music Controlled by 3D Gestures

via Synthtopia

Y'know, there is just so much cool shit going on right now in gestural control that it seems criminal not to be involved in pointing it out to people. I've been so busy in my life that blogging began to feel like more of a luxury than a necessity. But I'm trying to carve out some time for it as there's so much to report.

With the above video, I feel like my quest has come full circle, or to the end of the road, or the beginning, or something, as pertains to my own interest in gestural music interfaces.

"3 Movements" ca. 1993

Part 3

For instance, here I am 20 years ago at art school, playing a gesture controller I built with Bill Tremblay, accompanying a talented trumpet player named Jeremey St Martin.

Part 1, in which I introduce the sound square with angelic choir samples.

Part 2, in which I trigger body-like sounds behind by a film projection by Catherine Hollander.

I made some arguably ok "music" with my gizmo. It was fresh off the slab, still wet from a layer of black spray-paint Bill had applied about an hour before the show. There were some truly sublime moments but none are recorded anywhere except in my memory.

The 1993 Sound Square was built on 10-year-old-at-the-time equipment, an Apple ][e (I think), with a MIDI card in it, 16 light sensors and emitters, some 2x3's, and a MIDI breakout board built by Bill's brother, Ben. The sounds came from an Ensoniq Mirage synthesizer. The code was written in Forth. The repeating notes are caused by keeping my hand in the beam - the duration of the cycle is equivalent to the processing time of the Forth loop that scanned the Apple's MIDI buss. So a quick "hit" then back out could be fast enough to trigger single notes or short stacatto bursts on each "string". It was also presented as an installation, cycling a set of sounds that viewers could trigger themselves, such as thunder and lightning, laughter, etc.

So now it's 2013 and FINALLY we have Kinect and now this extremely affordable Leap Motion thing and soon the technology will be built into phones and pads and laptops and we'll all be waving our hands around like dorks.
I'm pretty excited to be aware of and involved in this research, as I think it holds great promise. I think it's just the beginning, and we'll start to see some really amazing applications very soon.


I (so totally) Dream Of Wires

"I Dream of Wires: Hardcore Edition" 2013 official trailer from I Dream Of Wires on Vimeo.

http://idreamofwires.org/ | the modular synthesizer documentary

from their site:

"I Dream of Wires" is an upcoming, independent documentary film about the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer — exploring the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine.

"I Dream of Wires (Hardcore Edition)" (IDOW-HE) will be released on Blu-Ray / 2-DVD, and shipped to all IndieGoGo and pre-order customers, June 2013. IDOW-HE is for the hardcore modular synthesizer and electronic music fanatics, and will run approximately 4 hours long(!).

Granular Synthesis Kit

Standuino: Granular synthesis gizmo in a kit or pre-built

"Standuino microGranny is pocket sized handmade granular sampler. It uses microSD card to store samples. You can adjust many parameters of the samples and trigger them by MIDI. Designed by Anymade Studio"

It's great to see more and more projects like this recently: made with open-source building blocks by people and communities that inspire more of the same.

Here's a good article by Peter Kirn.


Gesture Recognition on Resistive Touch Screens

...more information can be extracted from resistive touch screens by understanding and modeling the physics behind the process. When two touches occur, a segment of resistance from the passive screen, plus the resistance of the touch contacts, is paralleled with the conducting segment of the active screen, so the impedance seen by the supply is reduced and current increases..."

from: http://www.analog.com/library/analogDialogue/archives/45-06/gesture_recognition.html


Steganography 20 - Generate Melody from Text

This morning I was playing around with a soft-synth and didn't have a midi controller hooked-up -- so I was using the QUERTY keyboard to play notes. Then I realized I could type words and thereby make cute little melodies, that would repeat and had themes... pretty interesting sounds, actually. I liked the idea that these melodies could be decoded back into text (with a little effort).

A few googles later, bing!

Here is Hello World in C Major:

Read the whole article here: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/security/steganodotnet20.aspx


6 Launchpads & Ableton

6 Launchpads makes for a huge playing surface with distinct areas of control.


Demo of a Novation synth and 3 Launchpads together

Usng 3 Lucnhpadss with a Novation synth...

What I want for Chanukah

A deep-featured button controller coupled with cool slicy software PLUS 2 Stribe-like horizontal LED-festooned touch-strips to twiddle track position and needle drops - even supports a pinch input! Add monome-like sequenced sample chunking thingambobbery and you had me at hello! Check out Edison on this thing:


Reactable for iPad / iPhone!

A very cool UI designed for one of the very first multi-touch tables is ported to iOS - a great combination!


pissah controllah

What I really like about this controller is the combination of real knobs and an illuminated surface.



Real audio and MIDI i/o for iPad?

Alesis Studio Dock aka iO Pro (per Alesis' site)

Game-changer? Could be! Purportedly solving the number one complaint of most iPad musicians - iO Pro adds "real" i/o to the iPad, providing a traditional hardware MIDI interface, USB/MIDI, 2 XLR inputs (w/ 48v phantom power on one channel), R+L 1/4" outputs, headphones out, a footswitch jack, trim pots in all the right places, an impedance switch on one input, and even composite Video out! Everything but, well, the iPad...

List is $399 but Sweetwater's catalog shows it at $199. Add an iPad (~$500 depending on your prefs) and this could be an affordable and flexible alternative for laptop musicians, or for musicians currently using the iPad primarily as a dumb controller for existing computer-based music apps.

Of course, much will depend on the availability and affordability of IPAD apps that can take advantage of these added i/o options. And it remains to be seen whether the quality of the audio produced by the combo actually turns out to be "Pro". Can't wait to get my hands on one!

More reading:

CreateDigitalMusic iPad app rundown

Other CDM articles on iPad apps

An in-depth look at io Dock @ MATRIXSYNTH


The Missing Link OSC/MIDI Translator

"...a standalone hardware device which contains its own WiFi radio, and translates specially-coded OSC messages sent from your mobile device or computer into standard MIDI messages to control synthesizers, drum machines, mixers, digital audio workstations, or anything which responds to MIDI commands. It does this with low latency, high flexibility and configurability, and without the need for a computer anywhere in the control chain. Multiple wireless OSC devices may connect simultaneously to The Missing Link, making collaboration easy."

$150 pre-order: http://www.wifimidi.com/store/


Hours of mindless fun (for free)


GlitchSequencer is free software that allows you to create cellular automata to trigger MIDI and/or OSC. It can also be controlled by a monome:


For basic MIDI tasks, I use SimpleSynth, a lightweight MIDI instrument that is also a free download.


Trying out slideshow plugins/services

This is some random pic off my desktop along with a randomly selected song.

They have a paid version that leaves it logo free and add titles I think.



This is a video project I did over the summer using FinalCut Pro. The video is from www.archive.org and the sound is by phineus + twine. Andy's "sax" part is guitar thru a MIDI converter. The sequencing is all done on a Quasimidi 309 beatbox. The music ends when we throw too much MIDI at the 309 and it freezes-up.


Max/MSP 2-way communication w/ iPod (or iPad!)

Fantastik from Pink Twins connects your iPod/iPod Touch, and soon iPad, to your Max/MSP music programs. And it's free. Uses the standard UDPSend and UDPReceive Max objects. The iPad version is on its way to AppStore...


Livid Ohm 64 Review

More people should subscribe to the world's greatest Audio publication: TapeOp

My review of the Livid Ohm 64 is on page 58...

I previously reviewed the monome 40h, in my opinion still the best illuminated button controller ever, result of one of the most-inspiring DIY projects I know.