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The Twelfth Annual Interactive Music Conference
brainstorming graphic

Group Report: The Computer as a Musical Instrument

Participants: A.K.A "Reveal"

Keith McMillian, BEAM Foundation

Steve Turnidge, Ars Divina
Hank Coleman, Open Labs Ron Kuper, Sonos
Stefan Scheffler, Steinberg Media Technologies Julian Kwasneski, Bay Area Sound
Dan Moore, Microsoft Craig Swann CRASH! MEDIA
David Lieberman, Anigraphical.com Facilitator: Van Webster Webster Communications

Problem Statement

The standard computer interface controls are not supportive or conducive to the process of creative expression and the solutions up until now have been peripheral in nature, proprietary enclosures (tend to be expensive) or proprietary embedded systems.

Proposed Solutions

We propose a totally configurable interface designed to replace the standard input devices, such as the QWERTY keyboard and mouse, are not limited to any particular audience or discipline.

  • Laptop or Desktop but not a single product  a core of technologies for transformative creation
  • Mouse devices (WII and others)
  • Multi-button mouse
  • Game Controllers
  • OLED Keyboard
  • Touch Screens

The Vote On Our Target Audience

target audience chart

Key Elements of the Discussion

Elements to the Music
8 keynotes
3 octives per hand
Layer of learning
Lack of tactile feedback
Hand eye brain
Definition is based on what you are controlling
Respond to what?
Where synthesis is more powerful than available controllers
Hand positions, not just natural pitch
Thin gloves that understand gesture from physical actions
Additive to existing instruments
UI enhancement and expressive access

Elaboration on the Devices and Applications
Enhanced qwerty for music control
     Clustered key response
Standard monitor construction for Touch Overlays
Screen must give feedback Enlisting application support
Wireless external keyboard
Needs texture on t/s
Grid of dots – pixel bump
Core is a grid
Bar bumps for keys (evolutionary to the keyboard design)
Typing is an issue – yes/no?
Touchscreen overlay – usb
Performance – existing
Set of integrated modular products
Organic led keyboard
          Piece that supplements laptop keyboard
          Write in and unique mappings for existing keyboards
iPhone interface
Braille surface
OEM builds into laptop?
Expand and enhance qwerty
Expand the horizon of device
Tablet computer?
Game boy?
Preset States of Operation Nov/ProS/Pro
Qwerty mapped as musical keyboard

Action Item List

Who’s Responsible

Due Date



Hank Coleman


Complete report for publication


Group Discussion Over Uses


How would the group individually use a product as discussed?




Setting API specs and software vendors involvement (including MS)

section 10

next section

select a section:
1. Introduction  2. Speakers  3. Executive Summary  
4. Th Unfnshd Smph... Fixing Broken PC Audio
5. iHear the Future
6. Overcoming Roadblocks in the Quest for Interactive Audio
7. Call for a Highly Distributed Metadata
8. Game Producer's Guide to Audio
9. Next Generation Hand/Glove Controller
10. The Computer as a Musical Instrument
11. Schedule & Sponsors