Beatsurfing: At Last, a Controller for iPad That Lets You Draw Layouts Onscreen, “Surf” Controls

Beatsurfing – The Organic MIDI Controller Builder – Official Teaser from Vlek Data on Vimeo. There are already some exceptional touch controllers on iOS. But that means it’s doubly time for something new. Even among the best touch apps for iPad, there are some common themes. Layouts, if they’re editable at all, generally require a computer app for making and adjusting sets of controls. And (while Lemur is a notable exception), many restrict you to virtual simulations of conventional buttons and faders, rather than using a range of novel controls. That seems to ignore some of the potential of the …

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Visual Music: SketchSynth Lets You Draw an Interface with Marker and Paper, A Brief Drawn-Music History

Today, I’m in London doing a hands-on workshop on visual metaphors for music, and covering various topics filed under “synesthesia” at Music Tech Fest. It seems appropriate, with the subject matter on the brain, to revisit the topic of visuals and music in a series of posts. When you make hardware, with knobs and faders, you’re constrained by physical space – the amount of room on a circuit board, the radius of a knob cap, the size of your fingers. But before you get there, the first step is to sketch an idea. Imagine if you could do that with …

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Drawing Sound: Crazy Touch Interface Sound Experiments with Usine, PC

The quickest route to expressing an idea remains the gesture of a hand. That gesture may be crudely interpreted through today’s touch displays, but the immediacy remains. Presumably because of some of the device’s limitations, a lot of the experiments with the iPad have involved controllers that operate independently from sound software, like a remote control. Those interfaces, while useful, largely simulate existing hardware controls in a more flexible form, rather than introduce new ideas. But it seems the long-term potential for touch devices is in designs that unite touch, graphic, and sound in a single piece of software, exploring …

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iPhones, Pencils: Hand-Drawn Music Interactions, Tokyo Subway Mobile Jam

Musicians have long made pictures to represent musical ideas, share those ideas, and allow others to participate. Before computers, we created scores. Now, we can create interfaces, too. Of course, just because you’re using a digital interface doesn’t mean the pencil as prototyping tool has to go anywhere. It’s the quickest way to sketch out an idea. And if your hand is steady, it just might become a lovely, personal interface. OtoBlock by Tsubasa Naruse is a hand-drawn music sequencer. The basic interface is nothing new, dropping blocks into sequence to make sounds, but the charm is the rough edges …

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Paper, Drawing as Musical Controller: A Round-Up

Imagine drawing an interface on paper, then being able to use it as a musical interface. Or, heck, don’t imagine it – do it. Unfortunately, the kinds of intelligence necessary to make the music video in yesterday’s post just aren’t practical yet. (That is, you could draw a picture of a keyboard, and even use the picture as a music controller, but while you or I could recognize a keyboard from a drum pad and know that line is a fader, a computer would need some sort of advance structure for any recognition to work.) But you can do some …

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Imaginary Instruments: Marker and Paper as Controller

Note Pad from Charlie North on Vimeo. This charming music video from Charlie North imagines creating your own simple music controllers with a piece of paper and a marker. (There’s some similarity to M-Audio pieces there, too.) Of course, that raises another question: could this actually be done? Computer vision isn’t quite intelligent enough to work out automatically what’s going on here, but it seems to me that you could get a little closer. Another alternative would be using conductive ink or graphite to make the drawing itself a sensor. I’m going to leave you to puzzle out the rest. …

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Funky Music Art: 28 Gig Posters in 28 Days Complete

Nat “funnelbc”, creator of the CDM logo and graphic appearance, took on a project the rest of us at Team CDM thought was completely insane:

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28 Free Gig Posters in 28 Days: CDM’s Designer Nat Plans for a Busy February

Have a gig coming up? Need a rocking poster to publicise said gig to the wider community? You should check out Nat’s 28 Posters in 28 Days Poster Challenge! You know you’re going to get a great result, because Nat designed this here website, and CDMo, and the forums. You should get in quick, however, because he doesn’t seem to be starting out in the most positive frame of mind: They said I couldn’t do it! My girlfriend said I couldn’t do it. I don’t think I can do it… Let me preface this by saying that I have a …

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Flash-Powered, Animated Musical Painting: Visual Acoustics

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 …

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Use Graphics Tablets for Music: New and Updated Software, Free Tablet Theremin

Whether you’re a graphics artist wanting to make music in new ways or just trying to rationalize the purchase of a shiny new Wacom tablet, graphics tablets are worth a look for music control. They’re highly sensitive, intuitive instruments, and they’re fairly cheap (US$100 and up). We’ve talked about doing this before, but new and updated software keeps making this easier. Windows: Nicholas Fournel writes to tell us he’s just uploaded two new applications for Windows, for free. WMIDI converts tablet input to MIDI, with full support for Z angle and tilt; Theremin takes the next step and turns that …

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