Tommy responds to our call for screen grabs of software with this fascinating Jitter patch:

He writes:

used lloopp and jitter runtime to make this instrument that uses a firewire camera as a source for effecting sound generators. i like this shot because of the video feedback.

What’s lloopp? Glad you asked. It’s a live improvisation / looping / performance tool built in Max/MSP and totally open source. That makes it ideally-suited to use if you’ve found other live performance tools to be overly restrictive on their own.

Speaking of free, unusual interfaces, Tommy also sends along this elegant image from ixi software’s spindrum. They have a whole range of free, Mac/Windows tools for music making, all with organic interfaces and strange, floating objects, a bit reminiscent of the design of instruments like ElectroPlankton.

ixi software

It’s all proof that not all music software has to look the same, and the future is bright for innovation in on-screen interfaces. Software has a major interface on traditional instruments, too, which is that the interface for playing, the sense of a musical score, and visualization/imagery for the sounds themselves can all be united in the virtual domain. There have always been echoes of that in instrument design: buxom, carved women on viola da gambas, the way a piano keyboard reflects a system of tuning and pitch relations, and fantastical landscapes painted on virginals and other instruments. But I suspect we’ve only begun to see how this area could be blown up with digital instruments.

The only danger: we’ll have to keep from getting overly distracted by eye candy!