Photo (CC-BY) Kevin Wong.

A free app makes a TI graphing calculator make music

“I’m the operator with my pocket calculator.” No — like, actually. HoustonTracker 2 runs on the TI-82/83/83+/84+ Texas Instruments graphing pocket calculators – the kind you probably had to buy for your high school math class. And it doesn’t just make the calculator into a sequencer. All the sounds come straight out of the calculator itself, thanks to some gorgeous-sounding 1-bit noises. (Who needs those 15 or so extra bits, anyway? This is beautiful.) What do I mean? Just watch:


Russian Programmable Calculator, Controlling Ableton Live

I wondered if anyone else had used calculators as music controllers. The answer? But of course. Here’s a classic Russian calculator model controlling arrangements in Ableton Live. It appears in this example as though this is working as a USB (QWERTY) keyboard substitute, rather than as a MIDI controller, but you get more of the same potential from all those wonderful buttons. This find comes to us from Toyo Bunko of – themselves lovers of mobile technology, having built a sophisticated soft synth for the iPhone. Toyo writes: The page (in Russian) : And the video (instant download …


HP48 Graphing Calculator as MIDI Keyboard

It’s hard to write the first line of this, because in this case any reference to Kraftwerk’s “Pocket Calculator” is wildly redundant. This is a calculator. He is the operator. This is a real, working HP48 graphing calculator playing MIDI events. You can go, like, graph stuff with it afterwards, do some Calculus. And we can thank a few people responding in a mobile music poll on this site for making it happen. Andrew Turley, who has previously built a microfiche MIDI machine (thus making his way through arcane academic equipment as MIDI controllers), describes the project: This is a …