Alternative Musical Expression: A DIY, Pressure-Sensitive, Multi-Ribbon Controller

Keyboards have worked for centuries, but they restrict continuous expression and pitch. Touch is more flexible, but most readily-available touch controllers (like the iPad) lack pressure sensitivity. That leaves ribbon controllers. When do you don’t have quite what you want, you make your own. Just ask Rasmus NyĆ„ker of the Copenhagen Noise Lab. Rasmus writes us with copious details of his project, which he built just to get more enjoyment out of playing. It uses multiple ribbon controllers, aligned for easy access from the hands, with pressure sensitivity. He tells us how he built it and why. And if you …


Ribbons Elsewhere: Martenot Round-up

Photo: THEfunkyman, who has lots of other wonderful instruments in his galleries on Flickr. The Martenot is a bit like the Theremin’s sexy, friendly younger sister. If the Theremin is a tricky-to-drive race car, the Martenot is a sleek, road-ready coupe. (Okay, I’ve been watching way, way too much Top Gear.) Anyway, the Martenot gets way too little credit. It’s played the theme from Star Trek. (Not a Theremin.) It’s played Radiohead. It’s played some really gorgeous Messiaen. Martenot met Theremin and the two went on to direct the course of electrified music in the 20th Century. The Martenot has …