Our DMLab groups work on new and innovative ideas for accessible musical instruments, aiming to broaden the scope of what is available to young disabled and non-disabled musicians.
Drake Music also deliver a lot of music education and participatory music-making sessions and make use of these instruments, traditional instruments and existing assistive and accessible music technology.
Here we are sharing links to other technologies we have come across as part of our work, which people may find it helpful to hear about.
Existing accessible instruments & tech
- Apollo Ensemble – windows software which links switches to sounds
- Clarion – an instrument which can be played with any part of the body, made by Open Up Music
- Eyegaze – eye tracking technology
- iPad – we particularly use these apps
- Jamboxx – a hands-free breath-controlled instrument
- Linnstrument – an expressive midi controller for music
- MaKey MaKey – an invention kit for everyone
- Mini Mu Gloves – craft & code a wearable instrument
- MiniRig – portable bluetooth speakers
- Sibelius – composing software with free entry level version
- Skoog & Skwitch – two accessible instruments which link with an iPad or phone for easy playability
- Soundbeam – a touch free instrument you play by moving
- Subpac – wearable audio technology to turn sounds into vibrations
- Theremini – a combination of a theremin and a synth
New AMT made by our maker community
Andrew McPherson has developed the Bela environment and cape for the Beaglebone Black. This allows coders to create very responsive musical instruments with extremely low latency in a package the size of a pack of cards, which is capable of running off batteries.
Dave Green runs cheapsynth.com, a site dedicated to showcasing affordable ways of creating music technology. The instrument he created at our Southbank hackathon is a brilliant example. Picking up four Playstation Quiz controllers for £2, he ran them into a Raspberry Pi module to allow them to be used to play sounds. Robustly made, and with large, simple buttons, the Playstation controllers are ideal for those who struggle to control more complex instruments.
Zenon Olenski came up with a simple idea – controlling a classic synth using colour and motion. Dancers with glow-sticks, coloured clothes or light sources can direct the music, as well as affect the video on screen. This means that Photosynth could be used in schools to make collaborative music, with no other instruments or prior music-making knowledge needed.
Kieran Plissonneau developed Sonic Leap using the Leap Motion sensor, an infra-red gesture controller which can detect individual fingers moving in three dimensions. He created a simple interface which doesn’t need lots of work to set it up and which allows the player to trigger sounds and use gestures to add tone or effects.
Luis Zayas created a new instrument which is tactile, experimental and accessible. Each of the seven surfaces is a touch-pad that, depending on how the structure is rotated on its base, either triggers or modulates sounds.