Fugue machine is how Bach would have made a sequencer

I have two words for you: multiple playheads. Oh sure, you’ve got your piano rolls and your step sequencers and your arpeggiators. But can you roll like Johann Sebastian (or Arnold… as in Schoenberg)? Can you take a single melody, and make more complex patterns by echoing them, turning them upside down? That’s the idea behind Fugue Machine.


Bach Played on Tubes Will Remind You That Acoustic is Fun

I must admit to knowing neither the term tubes musicaux, nor “boomwhackers.” We’re on the eve of the Musikmesse trade show, which for music technology sites means time spent largely in Hall 5.1 – the bit dedicated to electronic stuff and “DJs.” But that’s no reason to ignore the possibilities afforded by acoustic sound. So long as people are being inventive with materials, that end of the spectrum (so to speak) will remain compelling. And the “Boomwhacker” is a great example. As Wikipedia kindly fills me in, “Boomwhackers Tuned Percussion Tubes are lightweight, hollow, color-coded, plastic tubes, tuned to musical …


Bach Cello Suite No. 1, Visualized in Sweeping Arcs, and the Math Beneath

Alexander Chen, he of Kinect hacks and subways turned to strings, is back with another string visualization. Built in the browser (an interactive version is available), this work makes a visual accompaniment to Bach’s First Prelude from the Cello Suites. If you read music notation fluently, you may find the score itself suffices, but even so, the math to make this work – and the dance of circles across strings – is compelling. Alex, whose day job is with Google’s Creative Lab, talks to us a bit about the mathematics and process. First, his description: baroque.me visualizes the first Prelude …


As a Wooden Tangible Sequencer Plays Bach, Meditations on Encoding Music

You may have seen it already as it makes its viral rounds, but an advertising video for Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo is a poetic model of how musical events are encoded, whether through means tangible or digital. A track of pitches makes a wooden ball into a mallet, traversing a track as it is driven by gravity. The keys of that track become a xylophone, the traversal of space sequencing notes in time, and you hear Bach Cantata 147, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” While there’s a clever take on a trill, the only disappointment is that we don’t …


Monday Morning Distractions: Bach on Talkbox, Ravel on Theremin, Odd Keys

From Wendy Carlos to the Swingle Singers, artists have proven over and over again that great music is great music, regardless of instrumentation. (Music historians would be just as quick to point out that most Classical performances don’t really match the original instrumentation, anyway.) So, since it’s Monday and we’re due for a distraction, we have from reader Jack Stratton a delightful rendition of Bach on TalkBox. (BachBox?) Something’s in the air, as our friend Synthtopia also shares novel instrumentations. Here, it’s Ravel: Trois beaux oiseaux du paradis by Maurice Ravel – performed by thereminist, Randy George and the Gaudete …