DRAWING MUSIC PART II: MIDI ACTION

Tangible Interactions

Assignment: Make a musical instrument using the MIDI control protocol.

Concept: An interface where the user draws on a piece of paper to make music.

Takeaways: In a way, it’s fitting that the “instrument” sounds like a child banging on a piano, because it represents Step One in the path towards musicianship. What I’ve created doesn’t really function as an instrument, but it is Step One in the path to Instrument Actualization. Here are my final takeaways.

  • Paper is more conductive than I thought.
  • If using the Software Serial library with a Leonardo, not all pins will work (I used pins 8 and 9).
  • I used conductive fabric when making the FSRs, but copper tape might have made more sense (easier to cut, don’t need to worry about fraying)
  • What is a good amount of FSRs, and what layout makes the most sense?
  • How do I solve the crazy note fluctuation and give the user more control over the notes that get produced?

 

Drawing Music Part I: Building the Circuit

Tangible Interactions

Assignment: Make a musical instrument using the MIDI control protocol.

Concept: An interface where the user draws on a piece of paper to make music.

Sketches:


Layout: I knew that I was going to make homemade force sense resistors, but I wasn’t sure about the layout. At first I thought I would have three or four sensors of equal size side by side, but then the assignment of notes would feel too arbitrary. I liked the idea of concentric circles, but those don’t lend themselves to paper’s rectangularity. I finally decided on nested rectangles. The outermost FSR would produce the lowest notes, and the innermost FSR would produce the highest notes.

Ground Layer: Three pieces of conductive fabric and three wires leading to ground.

Complete Circuit: Sandwiched between the two layers of conductive fabric is a layer of Velostat, a material that is conductive and pressure sensitive. I think I must have made an error somewhere because when I press down on the FSRs the resistance goes *up* instead of down…but each FSR is giving me a fairly consistent baseline, so I think I can work with it!