A fully-functioning QuNexus prototype. It may look like the pads on the QuNeo, but Keith McMillen tells us new sensor tech should be more friendly to keyboard technique. And the fact that this is real hardware is important - Kickstarter has recently revised its rules. A look at the new hardware - and actually delivering on Kickstarter - as CDM talks to Keith McMillen.

QuNexus is Touch-Sensitive, Tilt Mini-Keyboard with CV, MIDI, OSC, as McMillen Returns to Kickstarter [Q+A]

Can a compact controller not only shrink the conventional music keyboard, but transform it, too? The layout on the just-announced QuNexus is something familiar to keyboard players. But the QuNexus assumes some new ways of playing, with keys that sense pressure and an instrument that you can tilt. Following in the footsteps (fingertaps?) of Keith McMillen’s QuNeo, the QuNexus is built around a custom-engineered set of pressure-detecting, touch-sensitive pads. But whereas previous hardware used USB for MIDI and high-resolution OSC (OpenSoundControl), the QuNexus adds Control Voltage for modular and vintage lovers, too. The QuNexus returns to Kickstarter for crowd-funding production, …

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Reinventing the Wheel: Engineering arc2, Digital Instrument from monome Creator [Gallery, Interview]

Engineering a production instrument is a kind of study in compromise. For mass-produced musical instruments, it’s a fusion of practicality and economics, made affordable by a mass-market supply chain. What makes the monome creations special isn’t just that they look beautiful; the art isn’t aesthetic only. They are uncommonly uncompromising. They’re designed in such a way that tells a story about materials, one that weaves connections between suppliers – many of them local suppliers – and focuses the experience of the device on the interface. They have the kind of obsessive attention to detail associated with the finest acoustic musical …

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The Future Score, Dynamic and Networked: OSCNotation on iPhone

In this corner, the computer: dynamic, networked. In this corner, the trained human musician: still, in fact, very much able to read scores. Combining those two technologies – human and machine – has been surprisingly limited. That’s why OSCNotation, while a very simple app, is an intriguing glimpse into the future of the score. Normally, notation is fixed on paper. Here, you can send musical notes to a performer live, and dynamically – without the use of a printer and dead trees. In fact, with musicians able to sightread, it’s a little bit like being able to send musical patterns …

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Traversing a Score in 3D Space: Free IanniX Explores Strange, New Worlds

IanniX — From UPIC to IanniX from IanniX on Vimeo. In the beginning, there was the bar. Actually, wait – that came later. In the beginning, there were sketched outlines of notes. And the notes became fixed in pitch space, and then, increasingly, in time, in divided measures from left to right. And so, what we know today as Western music notation came to be. But then, in the 20th Century, composers began to undo the rigid boxes that score produced. First with pen and paper, later armed with the computer, composers connecting graphic and sound started to violate those …

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Arm Tracks: All-Body-Controlled Ableton Live, with Kinect, Brings Shirtless Musical Innovation

As it happens, hunching over your computer does not center your body and mind. So, drawing from yoga and other practices, Adriano Clemente is getting his whole body into the act of making music. While Kinect is not a perfect solution for every vision application, either in tracking capability or latency, it is stunningly good at following your skeleton through space. And here, using moderated, slow-moving motion, the body can navigate musical worlds with applomb. With apologies to everyone staying up late at night working on tracks in your undies, it’s also a convincing excuse to perform music without shirt …

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A LEGO Step Sequencer, Made with a Camera and Code [Video; Open Source Code]

Beat Bricks – A LEGO Step Sequencer from superquadratic on Vimeo. There’s something about that feeling of snapping a LEGO brick in place, a tactile connection to childhood memory. So, while it’s perhaps neither necessary nor terribly practical, this rig that turns a LEGO board into a step sequencer is somehow irresistible. And, like any good hack, it’s a chance to learn and discover – one that, thanks to freely-available code, is shared. The ingredients: a camera, Ableton Live, and some code for analyzing the camera image and translating those events into MIDI messages Live can turn into sound. It’s …

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Make Music with Anything: junXion Universal Send-Receive for Mac [Video Tutorial Round-up]

“So,” you say, “I’ve got a … and I want to connect it to a … to make music. How do I do that?” One strong answer to that question, if you’ve got a Mac, is junXion. Developed by the landmark audio research laboratory STEIM – a hotspot in Amsterdam that for years has been imagining new ways of making music by connecting things to other things – it got a big update recently. It takes lots of the inputs you might imagine (joysticks, mice, touchscreens, MIDI, OpenSoundControl, audio, Arduino-powered hardware and all of its sensors, and video sensing) and …

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Kinect-Controlled, 4-Story Pipe Organ, a Phantom of the Organist

When we last caught up with the touch-less, gestural music-making of composer Chris Vik, the Australian musician was sharing his own Kinectar software and playing both dubstep and ambient scores for modern dance. Now, Vik is back playing a very substantial physical instrument: Melbourne’s four story-tall, MIDI-retrofitted Town Hall Organ. Here, the Max-powered software takes on some very big sound from some very big pipes. He writes: I’ve created my own software Kinectar, which allows the use of the Kinect to control MIDI devices, ie. playing notes through simple gestures and motion. The Melbourne Town Hall Organ got a referb …

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Evo, Keyboard with Added Dimension of Touch-Sensing Keys, Evolves

Endeavour’s Evo Series One, which we looked at in the fall, does something different with the conventional keyboard: it adds a touch-sensitive surface to the top of the keys, allowing you to run your fingers up and down the keys for added expression. I got a chance to try the Evo today, and I’m impressed. The first feeling is strange: the keys have an action more like an electric keyboard (Rhodes, etc.), and the keys are atypically tall. But as you begin to play, it makes sense: this isn’t a piano for playing Liszt; it’s a unique, hybrid interface. The …

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Touch to Control: Usine Learns Music Parameters with the Magic of OSC

Touchable tablets may be all the rage at the CES trade show, showcase to consumer-friendly gadgetry. But quietly, developer Sensomusic has accomplished multi-touch control of an open-ended music system on standard-issue PCs and accessories. They’ve pointed the way to just what this mechanism could be. The latest video isn’t terribly easy to see, but it realizes something that has been the dream of fans of the music control protocol OSC (OpenSoundControl). “Learn” functionality lets you touch a control, then assign that control to something in your music software. But because these functions have relied on MIDI, they’ve generally been a …

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