Amanda Ervin’s Sound Circuits, Handmade Music Brooklyn 9/17 + Open Call

Amanda Ervin makes elegant noise-making apparatuses from simple circuits, and is able to share that process with her students (see her classes among 3rd Ward’s Circuits lineup). She’s going to show off some of her latest creations at the open showcase of Handmade Music Brooklyn, our monthly party + science fair + musical performance + ruckus. (More details soon on Handmade Music events that are springing up worldwide, thanks to the hard work and creativity of the DIY music community!) What really impresses me about these projects is that Amanda has made both the project and the curriculum – that …

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Sony Walkman-Sequenced Gakken Synth, by Gijs Gieskes

WalkSX from Gijs on Vimeo. As the Sony Walkman turns 30, many of the mobile cassette’s fans wax nostalgic. But it takes Gijs Gieskes to wire up a new Rube Goldberg-style musical instrument based on the Walkman’s simple tape playback. Follow along carefully through the signal flow of this unusual instrument: 1. The Walkman has audio on the tape itself, sampled from a Roland TR-808 drum machine. 2. Because a compact cassette has two tracks (left and right, for stereo), one track is dedicated to the drums, another to the rim shot. 3. The rim shot track is fed as …

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Mod the $50 SX-150 for MIDI: Instructions + Code

Photo via Flickr courtesy (C) MrBook aka heurtubia aka Hector Urtubia. A $50 synth that makes neat noises is fun. But a $50 synth that has a proper housing, audio jacks, and can be MIDI controlled — that’s a whole lot better. So readers were wowed last week as we saw the work MrBook did with his Gakken SX-150. Now, by popular demand, MrBook shares his techniques with specs, instructions, and code. This isn’t a bad project to get started with if you’ve been thinking of doing something on these lines. The basic ingredients and process: Find the connections on …

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Maker-Faire Music: VAMP and Glove-Controlled Vocals

Elly Jessop and VAMP 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. Continuing the tradition of computer-augmented vocal performance and interactive gloves, Elena “Elly” Jessop shows off her VAMP system at Maker Faire. Elly is a Masters student at the MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future research group, headed by Todd Machover. Interestingly, Elly’s background is in conventional theater, including stage and costume design and choreography. http://web.media.mit.edu/~ejessop/ VAMP stands for “Vocal Augmentation and Manipulation Prosthesis.” What’s …

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Maker-Faire Music: The K-Bow for Sensor-Augmented Violin

Barry Threw demos the K-Bow at 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. As long as there have been computers, violinists have looked for ways of extending the nuances of their physical performance into the digital realm. (Us keyboardists have it easy – we’re used to pressing an array of levers, and a lot of the gestures we make are, arguably, superfluous.) Many of these concepts return to the idea of the bow. The K-Bow by Keith McMillen …

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Handmade Music + Bent Fest + Chippy DIY Electrosonics: This Week in NYC, in Videos

Above: our friends at 2playerproductions shot this beautiful video that gets at the heart of what circuit bending and DIY electronics are about. It’s a look at some of the work of casperelectronics / Peter Edwards. And yes, Barbie is involved. Who are the people in your DIY music neighborhood? Well, quite a few of the DIYers here on Planet Earth are converging this week in New York. Lover of circuit bending, creative electronics, and DIY music hardware are gathering for the massive Bent Festival in Manhattan, complete with performances, workshops, and a book launch. And we’ve got a special …

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Wireless MIDI Hack: XBee + MIDI Hardware = No Wires

Interested in experimenting with MIDI, minus the wires? Why not try a DIY hack yourself? Limor Fried aka Lady Ada of Adafruit Industries has posted a detailed tutorial on transmitting MIDI over the inexpensive and relatively friendly XBee wireless module. It’s a bit of a hack – you force the XBee to communicate at MIDI baud rate, and on Windows, at least, you have to fool the OS into using MIDI’s non-standard baud rate for serial communications. But it seems to work. That’s where you come in: Limor’s got some folks testing this, but we could use some additional real-world …

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Handmade Music March Noise and Mayhem Recap; Call for Stuff Next Thursday

Wonderful things happen when you invite lovers of noise together in a room. Musicians and non-musicians, electronics geeks and first-timers, folks pick up a soldering iron — often for the first time — and cause utter mayhem. So we again had a fantastic time at Handmade Music last month. I’ve just gotten the photos in, so decided to share. We’re looking for folks to bring stuff to Handmade Music on 4/16 – see the bottom of the article and give us a shout if you have software or hardware creations to share. They don’t even have to work, entirely – …

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NYC Call for Works: Handmade Music Next Week; Java/Processing, Anyone?

Handmade Music at 3rd Ward, February: from top, an Arduino Piano by Collin Cunningham (of MAKE), the Electric Junkyard Gamelan. Our Handmade Music series continues this month on Thursday evening, 3/19, 7:30p at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn. Projects are open as always. Bring hardware. Bring circuit-bent stuff. Bring code and patches. Bring works you want to perform. Bring works that don’t work yet. Just, if you can, give us a shout to know what to expect. We have a PA, a mixer, a projector, and some space. It’s a party / science fair-style atmosphere, a chance to have a few …

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Make:TV Meets Stanford Musical Inventors, Feedback Piano

Maker Profile – Computer Making Music on Make: television from make magazine on Vimeo. Make:Television has done a really lovely piece on CCRMA, the research center at Stanford University that works on problems ranging from acoustics and sound to musical instrument design. CCRMA is really just one microcosm of the whole music tech making scene around the world – a lot of increasingly beyond the walls of academia. But what a microcosm it is: I don’t think it’s understatement to say this is just the kind of institution a lot of us dream of. Among the highlights from the MAKE …

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