Tag Archives: Technology
As I state in my About page, my musical career began with the woodwind instruments, primarily flute and saxophone (alto, tenor and baritone). Call me biased, but when it comes to pure expressivity, I still think nothing beats the breath-controlled instruments (brass included). The two biggest limitations on such instruments are their monophonic nature and the limited timbres available. I suppose this is what fascinated me about the Yamaha WX7 wind controller when I first learned about it 20 years ago. It opened doors for wind players; now you had an unlimited palette of sound to play with just like the keyboard and guitar players. And one could still keep that connection to the instrument that channels such wonderful elements of creativity and emotion – breath.
Here is the late Michael Brecker, virtuoso jazz artist, playing on an Akai EWI. He shows just how powerful this type of performance can be.
The Haken Continuum is a musical interface that reacts to touch like a touchboard, but allows one to control pitch, velocity and other parameters by sliding or pressing the board.
Yesterday, I posted about the emerging field of Augmented Reality. The folks at 5 Gum are already working on making this a music interface. The graphic pattern that is shown determines the beat that is played and the proximity of it to a given point determines the volume.
Augmented Reality refers to the computer science field where real world data and computer generated data are used in conjunction to accomplish certain objectives. GE has an example of this you can demo yourself that they use to present information on their SmartGrid. The following video shows their AR application in action.
Don’t know if you can get a more unique interface than a Tesla coil! Style points for playing one of my childhood favorites…
The Java API that I am using in my application to communicate with the Wii remote is called WiiuseJ and was written by Guilhem Duche. Guilhem maintains his code and a user forum at the WiiuseJ project. He’s a friendly guy; very helpful and responsive. Anyone interested in Java Wii hacking should check it out.
When it comes to analog synthesizers, most people have probably heard of Moog Synthesizers. And with good reason, Robert Moog was a trailblazer and his synths are incredible. Not as many people have heard of Don Buchla and his Buchla line of synths. I mention Buchla here not only because the synths are amazing pieces of work, but also because the university I am currently attending happens to have one of these rare beasts and I had the oppportunity to mess around with one. Buchla and Associates are still around today, making synths and midi controllers. Here is a video of a Buchla 200 in action.
Here’s another sweet little gadget making use of Nintendo technology that I am more than happy to pimp here. It is the Korg DS10 Synthesizer and it is basically a little synth and sequencer you can run on your Nintendo DS. Here’s some video of it in action. Also some cool vocoder action in this video!
Wiimote Project is a forum and user community devoted to all things Wiimote. There is some wonderful work being done out there with this technology, in a wide variety of applications. Anyone interested in working in this sphere or even want to check out what others are up to, please visit this forum.
Ken Moore is another Wii theremin designer who has done a great job working in this realm. His project predates mine and he has received much deserved acclaim for the work he’s done and I would be remiss without acknowledging his accomplishments. He is working in C#, using Brian Peek’s Wiimote Library, which is what I was initially going to use as well. I went the Java route primarily because there is better synthesizer and MIDI support in Java. In any event, Ken has been very nice and supportive of my efforts and I wish him all the best as he moves forward. He is also way ahead of me in getting some actual music outta the thing!
As promised, here is some video of my project work completed so far. I still have quite a ways to go; there are a bunch of ideas I have to add to this, as well as checking for bugs and making the GUI look more sophisticated. But this video captures the main functionality of the application and I am pleased with the initial progress I have made over the summer.
While my interests lie primarily in applying new interfaces in the musical domain, I have given some thought to eventually expanding my research and development into other areas, such as OS Navigation, Graphics Design, CAD or GIS. Looks like the folks over at Oblong Industries are way ahead of me on this one with their G-Speak platform. Anyone who has seen the movie Minority Report should recognize this interface.
Etienne De Crecy is an electronic music producer who performs live accompanied by an incredible video show inside a “cube.” Still not sure exactly how he does this, but sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the magic.
Another interesting musical interface I’ve come across is the laser harp by Stephen Hobley. He even has the plans and schematics available for download at his website.
This is an incredible concept developed by students at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. The software reacts to the shape of the object and offers parameters that can be manipulated based on the object type, thus producing different sound effects. More information is available at Reactable.