Pianist and Piano, Disconnected, in Composition for Kinect and Grand

The piano is a conventional grand, but with digital interface and camera, the composer is separated from it by air, playing without touching. It’s a Theremin interface for a keyboard instrument. Piano post-modern? Gestural post-digital? Whatever it is, in a work composer Benjamin Martinson composed for player piano, computer, and Kinect camera, the piano work holds up as musical content – compositional gesture, not just gimmicky digital hand-waving. Martinson himself looks oddly isolated and awkward, a man making rough mime gestures in unseen water, molasses, and wind. I can’t tell whether this is more about our expectations of human movement, …

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beetboxparts

BeetBox Lets You Play Root Vegetables; Latest Handmade Raspberry Pi Coolness

Bored by buttons and pads? Want something a bit more organice? BeetBox turns root vegetables into interactive percussion instruments, finally answering the question of “how can I work musical controllers into my five a day?” BeetBox is a simple instrument that allows users to play drum beats by touching actual beets. It is powered by a Raspberry Pi with a capacitive touch sensor and an audio amplifier in a handmade wooden enclosure. The project is the work of Scott Garner: Interactive > BeetBox Okay, maybe it’s not the most practical idea ever, but it is good fun. And that poplar …

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An Amazing Free Touch Controller for Ableton Live; How Touch is Coming Your Way

Ableton Live has a number of robust touch solutions, but a creation from Graham Comerford called Yeco takes things to another level. It’s finally a Live touch controller that provides full views of clips, unlimited parameter controls, and extras like drum pads. There are even undo and redo shortcuts. The cost: free, downloadable now. It’s presently Windows-only (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions), but a Mac version is coming early September. The implementation is really elaborate and beautiful, giving you a much wider set of functionality than existing iPad apps and the like, which tend to focus on basic clip launching, …

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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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Modul8 Gets New Beginner-Friendly Manual, Expert-Ready Custom Module Documented

I wouldn’t normally rave about a manual, but — this is how it should be done. Kudos! (Well, that and the one time Edirol bizarrely did a set of ninja videos for motion dive.tokyo.) Modul8, the popular Mac live video tool, got bumped to version 2.6.3 this week. But the most important change is a fantastic new manual for the software, buried at the bottom of the changed feature list: – Syphon SDK Public Beta 2 – fixed an issue with OS X 10.7 Lion – Fixed some issues with alpha channels when using shared textures in Syphon – Fixed …

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retroradio

Turn Your Generative Radio On: Live Stream Made from Pure Data Patches

Radio from the past, meet radio from the future. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Nic McPhee. Tired of top 40 hits? Pooped on podcasts? Sapped on streams? What if your radio could generative music that was never-before — and never-again — heard, all from dynamic, algorithmic software? PatchWork Radio does that with Pd patches. It’s not a new idea, but the radio station here, at least, is modular – not just one patch but any number of patches can be transformed into radio, thanks to some Python scripting. Creator David Guy John notes: I’ve recently just started up an internet radio station using …

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Hacking Ableton Live: Unofficial OSC, Scripting for More Control

Can you hack it? Yes. Yes, you can. Screenshot (CC-BY) Hens Zimmerman / 37Hz. Even before Max for Live was available, hackers had found a way of interacting with “secret” APIs inside Live for custom control, allowing them to customize Live’s behavior and make it work more seamlessly with hardware. That included providing something Ableton themselves had not: real, native control of Live via OSC, for more control than MIDI alone can provide. I was assured such hacks would continue to work, and sure enough, they have. Here’s how to get started. You may wonder, of course, why even bother …

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Touch: Meet the Multitouch Guitar – Plus An Open Source, iPhone Solution, Too

As multitouch becomes more widely available, there’s an opportunity to re-imagine all sorts of interfaces. And yes, that includes the guitar. I’m way behind on mentioning it, but thanks to all the readers who spotted the fascinating Misa digital guitar. Strings and frets are each replaced with digital touch controls, and the soundboard touchscreen is set up to control notes, velocity, pitch, and filters. In fact, it makes the guitar more like a keyboard, and less like a guitar. But as with all digital instruments, abstracting the gesture from the actual sound means that you can arbitrarily redefine what the …

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Round-up: Your Web-Connected Musical Future, at Music Hackday Stockholm

It’s like Woodstock for Web music tech nerds. Photo (CC-BY) Anton Lindqvist. “Okay,” you say to the Web geeks, “I’ve had enough. I don’t want another little app that looks at my iTunes collection and tells me that if I like Lady Gaga, I probably also like Madonna. I want to listen in new ways and, most importantly, make music. What have you got, Web 2.0… 3.0… whatever we’re on now, that I can actually use. I want some of the deliciousness of the future, now.” “Oh, and another thing – can I patch this Android phone of mine in …

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NodeBox 2: Free, Python-Powered Tool Gets Visual Patching, Windows Support

Free tools like Processing and OpenFrameworks have provided elegant, quick coding for live graphics, but their interfaces have tended to be code-based. One exception has been the Mac-based Field, which provides graphical patching. Now, you can add NodeBox to that list. This free graphical creation toolkit, built on Python, had long allowed tinkering with and exporting beautiful illustrations, but its interface used code exclusively – and it ran on Macs only. Now, NodeBox 2, in an actively-developed beta, runs on Windows and adds a graphical patching interface. The “Core Vector” Nodes act as much as a set of macros as …

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