Visual Acoustics is an online musical toy built in Flash designed by Alex Lampe (“Ample Interactive”) of the UK. (Via Music Thing.) The motion visuals are beautiful, and the music and interface is very reminiscent of Toshio Iwai’s work (see Nintendo’s ElectroPlankton, for instance). As with Iwai’s designs, just about anything you play will sound good and ambient. Now, there are two schools of thought on that. One suggests that these kind of futuristic interfaces make music accessible to anyone. The other would hold that part of what makes traditional musical instruments lovely is that, while they take a long time to learn, the rewards are much deeper. I’m not sure one is inherently better than the other, but I still wonder if it isn’t possible to build visual interfaces that are harder to master but deeper to play.
If you want some inspiration for moving in either direction, Visual Acoustics certainly shows potential. Now you just need a Wacom tablet-enabled version that, rather than conventional sliders for parameters, adjusts to gesture and pressure.