Hackday for Accessible Music


Originally published at www.drakemusicresearch.org

On Sunday 21st April  Drake Music will run a hackday to create and share new instruments that break down disabling barriers to music making. Run in partnership with Furtherfield and Music Hackspace, makers will have the opportunity to work towards one of two prizes for the most innovative work. To register for the hack day or to ask any questions please email me gawainhewitt@drakemusic.orgor twitter @DrakeMusicRandD


Open Hack Brief – Start building now – deadline 21st April 2013

To create new movement to sound devices


Drake Music has made extensive use of movement to sound devices in its work, particularly the Soundbeam. This brief is simply to create new devices that convert movement to sound and/or midi/information that other daw’s, modules and software’s can use.

This is an open creative brief. However you may want to think about what makes your creation better and/or new.

Some ideas that have occurred to our staff and musicians have been as follows:

  • I think the gesture used has to have an intuitive result from the sound; e.g. you can hit a snare drum in a multitude of ways and produce a variety of sounds and dynamics.
  • Affordability/off the shelf
  • Easy to programme/minimal setting up
  • Small/compact
  • Easy to position/mount
  • 3D
  • That it sounds good
  • That it can be played expressively (dynamics etc.)
  • That the sound genuinely expresses the nature of the movement – a ‘symbiotic’ relationship
  • That it’s not assumed the movement will be made using the hands
  • That it’s possible to make no sound without having to withdraw from the motion-sensing field – a bit like stopping the bow on a cello string without lifting it up.
  • Ideally that it has an option to be polyphonic – played with multiple movements simultaneously

This brief is open to start work on immediately and you are invited to make and build in your own time using the facilities already available to you. We will meet at Furtherfield on Sunday 21st April at 3pm to review the entries and discuss them, document them etc…

Hackday Brief – for the 12 participants in the hackday on 21st April – to register as a participant please email gawainhewitt@drakemusic.org

To create new switch devices.


Drake Music often uses switches to trigger sounds. These generally interface using a 1/8” or ¼” jack and can be plugged in to Soundbeam or aCrick Box to name a few.  We also use iPad apps and sometimes Makey Makey.

This will be a 5 hour hack event where you are invited to bring your hacking and making expertise and come and collaborate in the creation of new devices and interfaces that use touch or switches to trigger sounds. Haptic feedback is something that would be interesting, as would wireless devices and devices that allow for some amount of musical expression.

Some ideas that have occurred to our staff and musicians have been as follows:

  • I think being able to cycle through a range of sounds or samples is very useful.
  • Also, it’s great to have zero latency between press and hearing sound.
  • Wireless/switches/velocity sensitive
  • Quick response when triggering switch repeatedly
  • Can use at least 8 switches
  • Cross platform, compatible with software we use.
  • Have choice to use as key commands (like crick) or midi (all in one)
  • Small/compact
  • Affordability off the shelf
  • That it has the capacity to interpret expression rather than just on/off messages

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