The Speaking Piano, and Transforming Audio to MIDI

Austrian Composer Peter Ablinger has transformed a child speaking so that it can be played as MIDI events on a mechanically-controlled piano, making the piano a kind of speech speaker. Via Matrixsynth, the readers at Hack a Day get fairly involved with how this may be working. It seems not quite accurate to describe this as vocoding in the strictest sense, so much as a simple transformation to a (much) lower frequency resolution – that is, the 88 keys of the piano. Ablinger, for his part, describes the events as “pixels.” It’s pretty extraordinary that without a bandpass filter, you …

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Gijs’ Servo Sequencer, Opto-Mechanical Music, Events in Breda + Eindhoven

The Servo Sequencer with its hypnotic-looking optical disc. Photo courtesy Gijs Gieskes. Artists Gijs Gieskes’ sequencers are almost like physical, mechanical software, an expression of musical structure in object form. As such, even as they make strange sounds, they become musical sculpture. His latest Servo Sequencer combines optical and mechanical process, as frequency circles spin on a turntable and tone arms float above them. The Servo Sequencer is built for exhibition use – meaning, yes, he’s brave enough to let you play with this contraption. Sequence the arms using buttons, then adjust the volume mix and placement of each arm …

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Maker-Faire Music: Moldover’s Syncomasher, Live Electronica Controllerism for Everyone

Moldover at the Maker Faire from The Amazing Rolo on Vimeo. Yann Seznec aka The Amazing Rolo brings CDM his coverage of music tech at the Maker Faire in three episodes today. Our friend Matt Moldover is a mad scientist of controllers. Stock Novation and M-Audio keyboards enter, and wind up coming out as live musical control monsters. You know that kid who mashes up toys in the first Toy Story movie? It’s like that, only musically productive. Moldover has been steadily perfecting what was originally the Octamasher, a set of M-Audio keyboards connected to a central Ableton Live brain. …

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Monolake Interactive Music for Jet Lag: Installed Max/MSP Audio, Free MP3 Download

Eno had Music for Airports. It’s fitting that Monolake would do Music for Jet Lag. Robert Henke writes about this month’s free download: Since I also have been flying a lot recently, I named it after one of the most annoying side effects of modern transportation and mixed it in a way that reflects that dizzy feeling of being hyper active and totally asleep at the same time. ( "Last call for mister Robert Henke, flying to Berlin, please come to gate B 154 IMMEDIATELY or we will unload your luggage !!!!!!!!!" ) I am myself recovering from jetlag on …

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DIY Circuits of the Bent Festival Kick Off in LA, Then NYC, Minneapolis

Shining, happy people bending toys. Photo by Beatrix*Jar — see our interview. Despite the name, the Bent Festival this year promises to be about not only circuit bending, but DIY sound in general. (Circuit shaping? Circuit straightening? General circuitration?) Our friend and CDM regular Mike Una has put together fantastic art installations for Minneapolis. Workshops in NYC and LA dig into the mysteries of sensors and tubes, the potential of video bending, and giant, battery-powered noise to drown out the rest of the world. And there are gobs and gobs of performers. Like the North American air currents, Bent begins …

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Futuristic Music Design: Competitors, Judges, Teaser Videos and Photos

If you want new ideas about design and interaction, ask a musician. Before the Wii remote, the iPhone, Microsoft’s Surface, and Minority Report, musicians were trying oddball ideas for music performance. That hasn’t slowed down, either, from the futuristic and space-y to down-and-dirty acoustic techniques. We’ve got quite a gamut coming up for our madcap, sound and noise-packed hour of competition happening this Saturday at NASA’s Ames Research center during Yuri’s Night, and we’d love to share them with everyone online. For starters, here’s the rundown of the projects with links to project sites and artists, and all the judges: …

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Weather Report: Multi-Touch + Surface Temperature = Music on Earth

For an increasing number of artists, data is becoming the raw material for creative work. Most of this has focused on visual media, but in the digital space, you can just as easily use sound. Sometimes the results are aesthetic only; sometimes they tell you something about the numbers being sonified. But either way, sound is a powerful medium. “Weather Report” is a multi-touch instrument that makes music out of surface temperature data. The results feel a bit like US weather agency NOAA gone IDM. Fire up the multi-touch table, and you can “read” temperature data as sound. Co-creator Jordan …

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Sounds Sculpture with Pods and Milk, from Mike Una

CDM contributor, mic flag fabricator, beat bicyclist, and sound artist extraordinaire Michael Una has been up to more sonic magic-making in Chicago. He showed two recent creations at MGFest 2008 — that’s MG as in “Motion Graphics”, not, sadly, the car, though I think sound art would also go deliciously with MG automobiles. On display in Chi-town: giant pods to fill rooms with sound, and a man in a sound-induced, hypnotic blizzard of milk. (Yes, they have winter in northern Illinois.) Snowy Day at MGFest 2008 from Michael Una on Vimeo. Octophonopod at MGFest 2008 from Michael Una on Vimeo. …

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