Free Generative, FM Sequencer for Max/MSP, Max for Live

If you liked the generative, probability-based sequencing seen earlier this week, here’s another example – and it’s free and open source, so if you do want to pick it apart and you own a copy of Max/MSP or Max for Live, you can. Co-creator Giuseppe Sorce points us to the work: This is a simple generative music synthesizer built in Max/MSP created by Diego Caponera, Nicolò Paternoster and Giuseppe Sorce. It involves 5 FM generators which play notes randomly based on a root key and intervals defined by the user. It’s an university project made for an exam for Sound’s …


Tetrafol, Sound Object by monome + machineproject + Fol Chen, in Videos, Sounds, and Interview

LA-based bang Fol Chen (Asthmatic Kitty records) wanted to go beyond the computer as the playback and manipulation device for their music. So they worked with collaborators to invent a solution. In a new video, sounds, and an interview, we can share some of how this came into being. Built with the monome creators (Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain) and LA research and experimentation center Machine Project, the Tetrafol is a custom, pyramidal sound device. The object warps Fol Chen’s music using gestural manipulation of playback, but can also use your own samples. And with open-source circuit and firmware, the …


Doom 3, Game Engine and Rendering, Now Under GPL Open Source License

3D developers had real reason to be thankful last week, on the occasion of American Thanksgiving. Doom 3, after some wrangling, was set free with a GNU GPL open source license. The game data itself isn’t free, covered by the existing proprietary EULA, but you get all the logic and rendering of the game on Mac, Windows, and Linux. While the game dates to 2004, the visual engine remains nothing to sneeze at, capable of some impressive capabilities. And the way the engine and game themselves behave are compelling studies, too. In a world in which software is disposable, abandoned, …


Open Source Music Hardware: Got Gear? Fill Out Our Survey as We Look at the Landscape

If you do want to get religious about this, you may want to wear this around your neck: Open Source Hardware logo as jewelry! Photo (CC-BY-SA) MAKE’s Becky Stern. We’ve followed open source hardware – and generally hardware that is more open to user customization and modification – on this site since the beginning. As I prepare for a talk on the MeeBlip at Berlin’s Create Art & Technology Conference, though, I think it’s time to do a proper survey of the hardware that’s out there. The ability to modify music gear is something that’s important to a lot of …


New Open Grid Gear: A Hackable, Touchable, Light-up Array – BlipBox

Light-up grids of buttons are nearly commonplace, but the BlipBox is something different: its array of lights is also a sensor, making it both X/Y controller and light-up grid. And it’s designed to be completely open — firmware, hardware, schematics and documentation are all fully GPL-licensed and open source. For those of us who aren’t ninja coders, it’s also easy to customize, thanks to friendly software (pictured below) .k for making nifty interactive animations on its display and support for the artist-friendly Processing code environment. As the creators describe it, it’s three (three!) pieces of hardware in one: a creative …


New Open Grid Gear: DJ Mixer Meets monome Grid in MIDI + OSC Controller

It had to happen — button triggering, as popularized by the monome, here meets a conventional two-channel DJ mixer. But the layout I must say is quite spare and lovely, the work of the Japanese-based PICnome project. Furthermore, it’s Open Source Hardware, covered as I have recommended by a ShareAlike Creative Commons license (with no commercial restrictions) and GPL v3. (The creator prefers the term “Free Hardware,” which I love theoretically but have avoided for fear of people demanding we mail them MeeBlips by sending us a self-addressed, stamped box.) With clean, subtle markings and a nicely-composed layout, it’s hardware …


MuseScore 1.1, Free and Open Source Notation, Rivals – and Plays with – Sibelius 7

An example score produced with MuseScore’s new lead sheet features. Music notation software has long been seen as a two-horse race, a Pepsi versus Coke stand-off between Finale and Sibelius. But not only are there other alternatives, too, here’s one tool that’s making free and open source notation viable. I’ve spoken previously about engraving tool Lilypond, but it’s not entirely graphical, even with GUI front ends. MuseScore will look more familiar to users of something like Sibelius, and just as the latter released a major upgrade, it also had a big 1.1 release with major new enhancements. MuseScore has a …


MilkyTracker, Free Tracker, now on Android; Get Your Keyboards

MilkyTracker, the free and open source GPL tracker tool, is now available on Android, thanks to some cross-platform goodness. (Developers: see SDL-lib, which brings a flexible multimedia library to Android and enables a host of multimedia and games, and the NDK, Google’s JNI-based toolset for C/C++ on the platform.) So, what does this mean? It means a tool already available on an absurd number of platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux, Windows Mobile, and even Amiga), and build-able on more, gets one additional platform. Whether it’s actually useful to have a traditional tracker on your mobile phone is another matter, and that …


Eigenharp Covers Glass, and Software for Futuristic Instrument Goes Open and GPL

Speaking of futuristic instrumental design, the Eigenharp – an instrument that looks like the bassoon was redesigned by Vulcans – brings two big developments with its appearance this week in the Bay Area of California. First off, if you’ve doubted its utility in musical practice and you’re a fan of American minimalism, we’re treated to it covering the music of Philip Glass’ landmark Koyaanisqatsi. Geert Bevin, Eigenlabs’ Senior Software Developer, explains how he did it: I’m using SonicCouture’s Glass/Works Kontakt instrument in a four-part multi-timbral setup in Native Instruments Kontakt. Each key individually controls pitch, velocity and the resonance of …


Making Music with Free and Open Source Software: Top Picks from Red Hat, Dave Phillips

There are plenty of reasons to consider free software tools as part of your toolchain for music making. They might fit your budget, give you needed flexibility, allow you to use a tool driven more by development needs than commercial ones, give you tools that would otherwise lack proprietary commercial niches, allow you to run (via Linux) on a wider variety of hardware or with greater low-latency performance, or allow you to contribute more directly to a project, from documentation to actual development. And increasingly, they don’t mandate some sort of philosophical choice, either – I routinely use free software …