Music as Gameplay: Johann Sebastian Joust, Played With Only Sound and Gesture

Think back to playing a simply childhood game like Musical Chairs. The actual gameplay depends only on auditory clues – something you take for granted as a kid, but something apparently lost on game engineers who insist exclusively on advanced 3D rendering engines for visuals. And because you get your body involved, the game becomes dynamic. That musical cue isn’t just off in the background: in the dizzying run around the chairs, the soundtrack can become the singular focus of your brain, an urgent score to the — DIVE, got the chair! As the scene around game experimentation grows richer, …

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mooglab

MoogLab to Teach Science through Electronic Music, But Your Votes Needed

Want to see hundreds of pieces of music kit from keyboards to oscilloscopes, plus some 1500 mini-Theremin toys for students, coupled with US-wide education to help introduce young people to science? That’s the idea behind a grant proposal by the Moog Foundation. The Foundation’s MoogLab teaches science through sound – a worthy cause. Not only was Bob Moog’s life in electronic music ignited by discovering the Theremin, but many of today’s generation of scientists and thinkers were raised on electronic sound kits a few short decades ago. Without the same exposure to science and sound, young boys and girls may …

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The Books' Demented, Fantastic Audiovisual Cut-up

the Books – A Cold Freezin’ Night from Paul de Jong / Nick Zammuto on Vimeo. The Books do sound sampling cut-up like no one else, so visuals sliced up via the same mad genius come as little surprise. Heavily indebted to the work of pioneers like Emergency Broadcast Network, their videos still have the kind of sharp wit and child-like (or child-featuring) cleverness we love. What you can’t see in the video above is just how thrilling The Book’s live show is. I got to catch this number at Boulder, Colorado’s Communikey Festival, and it brought the house down. …

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Wee See: Wonderful Animation from Simple Shapes

wee see – collection one from Rolyn Barthelman on Vimeo. When working with drawing code – or perhaps even computer media in general – starting out with simple shapes can feel oddly uncomfortable. Perhaps as adults, we’re accustomed to dressing up our work and our identities. Using something as basic as a regular triangle can feel naked and dry. As kids, we don’t think this way. We love bright colors and simple shapes, maybe because we’re seeing everything for the first time. And maybe it’s simply that we have more imagination. (How many young kids have you seen in utter …

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Super Cute: Indie Rock Coloring Book

Super Cute Thursday (unplanned) continues, with an adorable indie rock coloring book. It’s hardly the first. STS9 and recently the lovely Riceboy Sleeps limited edition by Sigur Ros’ Jonsi and Alex came with coloring books. Perhaps inspired by musicians entering parenthood, it’s all the rage. If you can’t be pressured to select just one band for your (or your kids’) coloring pleasure, here’s The Indie Rock Coloring Book, a project of the Yellow Bird Project, which gives to artists’ charities. You get to not only color but solve mazes and connect-the-dots. Hey, with music increasingly intangible in the digital age …

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Kids Making Music: Interactive Music Box Draws Experience from Games

Ten minutes. Four or five kids (or adults). Make a song. Go. That’s the idea behind the Youth Music Box, developed by Silent Studios and Chris O’Shea. (Our friend Chris you may recall from various interactive projects and the blog pixelsumo; he sends this project our way.) The software is build in openFrameworks, the C++-based creative coding environment for artists. With keys, drums, and yes, even a scratching DJ-style interface, the music box brings together kids for quick music making, inspired by the phenomenon of musical games. The experience is guided by genre, with some effort to make sure whatever …

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You Know, for Kids: Young Girls Create Digital Plushy Motion with Arduino

Arduino the Cat, Breadboard the Mouse and Cutter the Elephant from hmt on Vimeo. Media artists and design houses around the world: you’ve got nothing on this group of eight to eleven-year old English girls, bravely exploring interaction design, soft toy hacks, and physical computing using the open source Arduino platform to animate cats, mice, and elephants. Just how comfortable are these kids with technology? Comfortable enough that a robotic, killer elephant with glowing eyes is “cute.” Give them a couple of decades, and I think they’ll invent Cylons. I can’t wait. Thanks to Kyle McDonald and Memo Akten for …

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Generative Music Interfaces of the Future – Look to Games?

I’m going to make this a minimalist post because I’ve said what I’ll say about Kodu, the one really cool part of Microsoft’s keynote yesterday, on Create Digital Motion. (Am I the only person who wishes Sparrow had just done the whole keynote?) But have a look at the shot above. One of the complaints about generative and algorithmic music software (and music software in general) is that the interface has been so complex. Clearly, there are many other ways to design these interfaces, and in turn, to shape the way we use these to compose and perform music. Forget …

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You Know, For Kids: Game Design, World Creation as Microsoft Research Previews Kodu

“This is my tree. It makes music.” It took “actual 12-year-old girl” (as Microsoft described her) Sparrow to rescue Microsoft’s drab CES keynote (and drab tech news week) and get us back into the Future again. That future is one in which the dazzling interactive 3D world of games becomes a playground you can shape. In this case, the showpiece is a game called Kodu, but that may just be the beginning. The reason all of this is so deeply significant is that what you need to make something work for kids could say a lot about how the rest …

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Gestures, Mobile Music, and the “Low Floor” for Novices: ZooZBeat on iPhone, Nokia

From the time we’re kids, we use gestures to make music – shaking, tapping, moving our bodies around, and connecting physical movement to sound. The idea of using these kinds of gestures to control digital music has been something researchers have worked on for many years. But with increasingly smart phones, equipped with mics, tilt and acceleration sensors, cameras, and other inputs, it’s possible to actually deliver these tools to average users. The latest entry in the field is ZooZBeat. Its life as a mobile app is just a matter of months, but the research behind it involves years of …

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