stringer

At Music Hack Day, Amidst Listening Interfaces, Novel Performance Control a Winner

One top prize-winner: Stringer, which applied Kinect camera magic to simulated strings. More on how it was made below. Photo (CC-BY) Thomas Bonte. With Web data providers offering generous cash prizes and a strong emphasis on harnessing data to transform listening, music consumption took center stage at Music Hack Day’s debut in New York. But it was novel music controllers, the sort that once were commonplace only at academic music conferences, that stole the show. That suggests that whereas building the next MySpace was once the hot music tech, the future might look more like a race to build the …

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Wintry Samples: Recording Snow, Free Snow and Ice Drum Samples, Gnomish Choirs

Photo: Frank Bry, courtesy his blog The Recordist. It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For some of us, there’s little need to remind us of snow and ice. But if you fancy adding some frozen sounds to your music, we have both free samples and expert recording tips to help get your cold on. Frank Bry, a master sound designer, apparently has plenty of access to snow in his home of Idaho, but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for the white, fluffy stuff. He’s devoted an entire library to Ultimate Snow with some 300 locations. You can read an interview …

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libpd: Put Pure Data in Your App, On an iPhone or Android, and Everywhere, Free

What if you could make any device or any software a re-programmable musical instrument, effect, or soundmaker? Your phone could be a touch-controlled effect, your tablet a sketchpad for interactive drum sequencers. Patches assembled on your desk on a computer could be taken with you in your pocket. And what if you could do all of this for free, using a time-tested environment? libpd, authored by Peter Brinkmann, takes on that vision. It’s a way of making Pure Data (Pd), the visual development tool for interactive music and media, more accessible across a range of applications and gadgets. It lets …

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A Free, Drag-and-Drop Granular Sample Player Mashes Up Sound

Grain Main Frame is a sound sketch, a one-off piece of software that loads audio files and plays them via several inventive, homebrewed sample players. Via granular techniques, methods of slicing sounds into tiny grains and then re-assembling them, a single sound can be stretched, sliced, and retriggered creatively. The software supports drag-and-drop functionality, as well, so you can drop files and go. It’s a simple app conceptually, but it’s already packed with functionality in this early version. In addition to drag-and-drop file loading and a folder full of homemade samples to play, the software includes: Gesture recording of mouse …

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Don’t Over-Interpret Apple: Cross-Platform Development Isn’t a Sin

Pictured: Looks native, but this app is built with a cross-platform library. And really, for music making – or great, immersive development, in general – does it matter? The iPad has inflamed plenty of passions online. On this site, I’ve gotten a little flak from iPad lovers and haters alike. It goes something like this: “wait a minute, you’ve got all these criticisms of the iPad’s restrictiveness, but then you’ve got all these amazing music apps.” Or, on the other side: “why do you keep covering all these iPad music apps?” In a word, yes. They’re not the same issue. …

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d-touch, Free Tangible Interfaces, and a Walnut Drum Machine

Software doesn’t have to mean virtualizing everything and letting go of physical objects. On the contrary, it can create all sots of imaginative, new ways of mapping musical ideas to the physical world. And that’s how we wind up with a walnut drum sequencer. There’s something about virtual drum machines and snacks. We’ve seen bubblegum and Skittles, beer bottle caps, soda bottles, and now walnuts. Don’t stop now: someone has to do Cheetos, even if it means dealing with orange stuff all over your fingers. That said, it’s not walnuts that make d-touch an important project. Built by Enrico Costanza …

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Wireless MIDI on iPhone: Open Source Motion Control Talks to Nintendo DS, Computer

The Cupertino-Mushroom Kingdom gap has been closed: you can now mix and match DS and iPhone/iPod touch for wireless control of music and visuals. DSMI, the homebrew library that has enabled wireless and serial MIDI connections from the Nintendo DS, has come to iPod touch and iPhone. That means anyone building instruments and controllers on the iThing can now add wireless MIDI controllers that talk to computers – or other mobile devices, including the DS. It also means that DSMI’s acronym standing for “Nintendo DS Music Interface” has only one word that describes all the things it does. If you’re …

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A Mutating Drum Step Sequencer, New MIDI Library for Processing

The creator of the wonderful glitchDS, repeaterDS, and cellDS Nintendo homebrew music apps has turned his sights to the free and open coding-for-artists desktop tool Processing. The result: a drum machine that mutates and morphs in wonderful ways via a command-line interface. (I almost put the command line bit in the headline, but while I actually adore command lines, I think the more interesting part of it is the way it mutates its patterns in lovely ways. No boring endless step sequence repeat here.) The tool is called Quotile, and since it is built in Processing and the code is …

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Microsoft Readies DirectSound Replacement: XAudio2 for Vista

Look out, PCs: you’re getting the audio engine from the Xbox 360. That’s the message from Microsoft, which abandoned the old DirectSound APIs in Windows Vista. They’ve got a new audio system called XAudio2 ready and waiting, however, and it looks good — though it also begs the question, why didn’t Microsoft ship it with Windows Vista out of the gate? (Instead, Microsoft actually suggested users turn to the OpenAL open audio architecture, and now appears to be getting XAudio2 ready for Vista SP1.) Geek alert: the rest of this post may be interesting only to developers… XAudio2 does look …

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