Percussa micro super signal processor

Over the years, we’ve seen all kinds of far-out interfaces for music. But where do you begin if you want to just get started?

Interfacing a simple sensor with your music software is a decent place to begin. Nick Latocha, aka myredhotcar, uses Max/MSP to connect Ableton to the output of a photodetector (a resistive sensor that is sensitive to changes in light). Yes, in this example, the result isn’t so different from turning a knob, but that’s the point: starting with something basic like this is the best way to learn.

The result: move your hand around, and change the modulation on a wobble bass.

Max/MSP and Ableton Live are the ingredients in the example, but you could easily substitute other software for reading the sensor (Processing has a number of similar examples, for instance), and you could output communication to any music tool.

But if you’re curious about going beyond knobs and faders, this can be a fun way to get rolling.

And the next time a music artist accuses you of “pressing play” in your festival gigs, you can one-up them by not touching … anything.

Light-Controlled Dubstep Wobble Bass