The guys from CCRMA (Computer Research in Music and Acoustics from Stnaford University, the acronym is pronounced like karma) they ever surprise uswith amazing gadgets and innovations. This time I won’t explain an innovative design, because there is already a lot of people making music with iPhones, Androids and smartphones in general. The interesting thing is the constitution of a musical orchestra with iPhones like a musical interfaces, and of course the resultant performances and experiments could be very innovative and interestings.

Ge Wang, director of the Mobile iPhone Orchestra (MoPhO), say that “mobile phones are becoming so powerful that we cannot ignore them anymore as platforms for creativity”. Michael Berger, one of the musics ot the MoPhO and a doctorate student in the CCRMA, says that the concept is “postmodern, in a sense, because it’s using a device that was not designed to make music and using it as a musical interface.”

You can see here one of the videos you can search in Youtube. The interesting thing is that shows Ge Wang professor playing an electronic ocarina, for me a very nice and interesting example of a musical interface.


Una Plata d'Enciam

With this post in we start a new project: 50 ways to play Una Plata d’Enciam. Una Plata d’Enciam is a children song that play children in Catalonia. I have this song in mind because I usually sing this tune with my daughter. During last year I was interested in audio and midi programming with linux, and I was interested in the possibility to build new musical instruments and new interfaces human-machine to produce sound and music. This is the reason why I want to gather and order all this information and knowledge, and produce videotutorials to show different possibilities and techniques.

I hope to produce this videos in a regular schedule. I dont know if I will produce 50 videos, may be less, may be more,… I hope so. It’s only a nice number.

Here is the first video: the introduction to the project and his objectives, and the first way to play this song: singing with the human voice, the perfect instrument, and playing an instrument (in this case a wind instrument, a mellodica).

All the videos will be recorded in English, but I will show the url’s wiki, where you can found the video transcriptions into Catalan and Spanish, and all the technical information about the project.

Wiki: technical information and video transcriptions

It’s time ago that there is a mail bouncing in the web with this subject: a fantasitc machine…, and links with an incredible video where you can see machines, pellets, plungers, pistons, pipes and robots playing amazing instruments. The rumor said that the video was real and the machines were made with a tractor spare parts.

The reality is that the video is made by a computer animated music enterprise, Animusic, that has already published two DVDs with all these videos, really incredible.

They show all this productions in their al Animusic YouTube Channel. Just a sample:

Arduino has great possibilities to develop quickly nice and interesting electronic projects. It’s plenty of information and a growing number of people dealing with Arduino, people who choose this platform to develop projects and interfaces. We are aware about the huge possibilities of this little microcontroller, so I want to show the last experiment that I did with Arduino. Is an academic experiment: with a LM35 temperature sensor, we can show the temperature in a Liquid Cristal Display, and we fetch every 5 minutes the data and store them in an external EEPROM memory. These three modules are linked with the firmware that is uploaded to the ATMEL microcontroller, inside the Arduino board.

No doubt, Arduino will play an important role in future developments, like the next project that I’m designing: 50 Ways to Play Una Plata d’Enciam… wait few weeks for the details…

If you want to read about the temperature sensor project in detail:

English video transcription

A marketing campaing of Wolkswagen in Sweden show us a nice example of street musical art. Under the motto The Fun Theory I suppose the next step is telling people that to drive a Wolkswagen car is a funny experience. The thing really funny is the idea: to see how a little action in the street, even a marketing campaign, can involve a thousand of people and encourage them climbing the stairs instead of using the escalator. They call it The Piano Stairs. In the camapign words (

Can we get more people to choose the stairs by making it fun to do? We believe that the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory. Do you have an idea that uses fun to change behaviour?

I have always imagined musical public spaces, interactive squares, games of music and light. Making the public space fun and humanized. Here is a nice example. When could I see something similar in my city?


I read in El Pais (9-9-2009) the last interactive installation of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer ( Levels of Nothingness is a comission of the Guggenheim, and it is inspired by Kandinsky poetry. It is about the reinterpretation of the theories of the russian artist abount synesthesia: the capacity to experiment a sensation through another sense different that the one expected. In this case it’s about sound. Kandinsky was convinced that every sound resonance has a correspondance with a chromatic tone.

The performance is based on a microphone who analizes de volume, intensity and frequency, and convert all this information in an abstract opera with lights, flashes and colours, like we found in a rock concert.In the artist words: the interesting thing is that the ligth ambiance is related with the conceptual features of the words and sounds we are saying in the microphone.

You can see Rafael Lozano-Hemmer installation videos in his pagweb:

convocatoria VIDA 12.0

Un año más, la Fundación Telefónica ha convocado el concurso VIDA para proyectos que versen sobre vida artificial y temas relacionados. Es un certamen artístico, por lo que los proyectos presentados deberán tener un componente artístico, además de tecnológico.

Como se lee en la convocatoria, el certamen consta de dos concursos: uno para prouyectos finalizados y otro para Incentivos a la Producción Artística.
Pues en no nos quedamos cortos y hemos presentado un proyecto para Incintivos a la Producción Artística. Se puede leer el proyecto en nuestra wiki. En pocas palabras, es un sistema para determinar si dos personas son compatibles entre sí. A partir de sensores biológicos, se captan en los protagonistas señales biológicas como la pulsación cardíaca, humedad u ondas cerebrales. Estas señales se acondicionan en un módulo electrónico basado en Arduino y se entran al ordenador. En el ordenador, un programa escrito en C++ tiene diversos objetivos:

  • dos planetas (que representan el avatar cibernético de los protagonistas) giran en órbitas elípticas alrededor del centro de gravedad común. Las órbitas se ven afectadas por la variación de los señales captados, con lo que el sistema es dinámico y evoluciona con el tiempo.
  • unos asteroides acompañan a los planetas en su viaje sideral, simulando la dinámica que se observa en las bandadas de pájaros o bancos de peces.
  • la música es una parte muy importante. A partir de diferentes variables se produce música algorítmica con un resultado que deberá ser espectacular.
  • el programa, analizando la dinámica de los cuerpos celestes, deberá emitir un veredicto: si las dos personas objetos de estudio tienen feeling o no. La tesis es que una persona que te produce buenas vibraciones va a afectar tu ritmo cardíaco o va a producir unas fuertes señales cerebrales.

Esperamos poder desarrollar este proyecto durante el presente curso. Aquí os mostramos unos esquemas y un video sobre el proyecto.

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