ted

From Beethoven to Kinect, linking music to our bodies

“Gesture” is a term that gets tossed about regularly in modern interaction design. But to me, the word is most deeply associated with classical music – and the gestures that first brought me to music, the piano. In this video for TED@BCG, I got to talk about that and why I think it can inform design through today’s newest interfaces. In rapid-fire form, obviously more could be said about this.

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poppy_components

A Toe-Tapping, Dancing 3D-Printed Robot Plays Music

Making Music With Poppy from Pierre Rouanet on Vimeo. It can “learn” to tap its toe and bob its head. And then it can make sounds as you move its arms. It’s a robotic interface for music – a bit like playing with a very smart toy doll. To show off its interactive/interfacing abilities, the team behind Poppy used music. Poppy is a robot that can be produced with a 3D printer. All the hardware and software are fully open source. The idea – fused with cash from the EU’s European Research Council for funding science and creativity – is …

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Watch Adriano Make Surprising Objects, Laser Beams into Triggers for Wild Music

Now that anything can become an instrument, musicianship can become the practice of finding the spirit in the unexpected. It’s what Matt Moldover championed in the notion of controllerism, what years of DIYers have made evident. It’s not just a matter of finding a novelty or two. It’s really taking those novelties and making them a creative force. Adriano Clemente, the Italian-born, Brooklyn-based artist (aka Capcom), is a shining light of just that sort of imagination. Regular CDM readers will see some familiar techniques. There’s a laser harp, a circuit-bent toy, mic transducers making objects into triggers, a Numark Orbit …

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A New Lab Opens Music Making to People with Learning Disabilities

Let’s face it: the initial audience for the first version of music tech is often the developers. That impulse to build something for yourself is a perfectly reasonable one. But music technology is constantly producing new ways of creating music, and that means it has to learn quickly. Unlike, say, a guitar, it can’t build on centuries of experience. And if the industry and music technology community are to consider how to reach more people, why not go beyond just average markets? Why not open up music making to people who have been left out? If music making is an …

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Dance and Music: Convert Kinect to MIDI, Free Beta on Mac and Windows

When we first saw movements and dance converted to music in February, it must have sparked some interest. Developer Jesper Nordin tells us popular demand has prompted him to release a free (as in beer) version of his Gestrument Kinect controller. With a beta download and a Windows or Mac machine, you can translate Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera to MIDI events you can use with instruments. Previously (including mention of the iPad version of this idea, if you don’t fancy prancing about in front of a camera): Gestrument, Shaping Music with Kinect, Touch, and Acoustic Ensembles [Videos] Now, you can grab …

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Lawnmower Man-Style Audiovisuals, in Kinect Experiment, Plus a New Kinect

Oculus Rift + Kinect – Audio visual instrument a001 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. That window between science fiction and actual interfaces continues to narrow. Here, virtual hands paw at geometric orbs to produce sound, with simultaneous 3D visuals as accompaniment, in the latest artist/hacker experiment. You can thank the popular and surprisingly-accessible game engine, Unity – which recently added free deployment to mobiles, by the way. Description: This is our first Kinect-controlled, virtual reality experiment, using the greatly anticipated Oculus Rift. It’s a simple virtual reality environment built in Unity 3D with our own interactive framework. It allows us …

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Pianist and Piano, Disconnected, in Composition for Kinect and Grand

The piano is a conventional grand, but with digital interface and camera, the composer is separated from it by air, playing without touching. It’s a Theremin interface for a keyboard instrument. Piano post-modern? Gestural post-digital? Whatever it is, in a work composer Benjamin Martinson composed for player piano, computer, and Kinect camera, the piano work holds up as musical content – compositional gesture, not just gimmicky digital hand-waving. Martinson himself looks oddly isolated and awkward, a man making rough mime gestures in unseen water, molasses, and wind. I can’t tell whether this is more about our expectations of human movement, …

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Gestrument, Shaping Music with Kinect, Touch, and Acoustic Ensembles [Videos]

Swiping through clouds of timbre and melody, using Gestrument is an experience of a different musical animal. Jesper Nordin and Kymatica / Jonatan Liljedahl created the iPad version, available now for ten bucks. But it’s worth looking at that side by side with Gestrument for Kinect, as the same metaphors can translate across input methods. Both employ a kind of meta-composition – instrument as conductor of musical structures, more than an object for exclusively solo expression. What’s especially nice is hearing these digital, synthesized environments meld with acoustic instruments. The solution may not convince everyone yet, but there’s clearly potential …

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leap

Move Over, Kinect: Early Gestural Musical Demos for Leap Motion Look Terrific

Microsoft’s Kinect has proven a compelling proof of concept for gestural control of music. But it could be just the beginning of mass-market gestural sensing technologies. The Leap Motion, like Kinect, promises to be affordable gear. Unlike the Kinect, the hardware is even more unobtrusive, and gestural control is more precise and responsive. Given the latency limitations of Kinect, that’s a huge deal for music. And better expression could inspire new musical ideas. We’ve spoken many times before about the limitations of touchless control – Theremins are spectacular but not the easiest instruments to play, and waving your hands in …

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Full-Body Music, Live: AV Kinect Performance, Complete with Beer Bottle [Video]

ETHNO TEKH | live at Enig’matik Vibrations [Melb,Aus] 2012 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. You’ve seen impressive tech demos and promo videos with Kinect, perhaps. But here’s a real, live performance with a crowd. (Best moment: an audience member walking in front of the camera. Breaking the flow like that oddly makes the show feel more real.) Ethno Tekh is a dubsteppy AV performance with a flow of beats and images. Now, we’ve heard all the criticisms of Kinect as musical controller – its fairly high latency and broad gestures mean it can’t quite compete with acoustic instruments or more …

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