10th November – 25th Of January ~ Final Project.

The idea & Project pitch:

For my final Emerging Technologies project, I want to create and develop a live performance tool for myself, that I can use as a unique playable instrument at a live show. I aim to take a guitar hero controller and convert it into a midi controller device. I am hoping to open up the case of the guitar and use the Arduino/teensy inside.

My initial idea is to use the buttons already found on the guitar hero to trigger sounds. I also want to add a rotary dial within the design somewhere on the body of the guitar to change possibly the pitch or filter. I also want to add some metal wire through the frets of the guitar to give a larger range of sounds. Lastly the two buttons found near the bottom of the body, I want to convert into drum samples so, by pressing them you can create a beat using a kick drum & a snare.

VInitial Idea diagramV

Fist template


Guitar Hero Development Process:

This picture is the guitar with no alterations or modifications made, this is the foundations and device I am going to be working with. I first looked into the possible idea if the guitar hero was usb, due to the alternative possibility that I could create a MAXMSP patch, then converting it into a midi device from there. After I was unable to achieve this, I set out on my initial idea, of which I was going to modify the guitar and run it through a teensy device.


Original Guitar Hero Case

I firstly opened up the neck of the guitar hero, to expose the circuitry of the inside of the neck. I then removed the fixture of the board and all of the wires found within. (hollowing it out)

I then realized the board attached to the inside of the neck held the buttons in place and was also how the buttons worked. It was difficult to figure out how I was going to make the buttons work with the teensy. After a long process of experimentation, I really couldn’t achieve this so, I then set out to think of other possible ways I could still achieve my goal. After a little while, I came up with the idea of covering the buttons in a metal substance, then running metal wires from them to the touch sensors in the teensy. This worked and give me the effect and functions I was after. I then tested to ensure the method worked.

Once I was happy and felt confident the buttons were functioning correctly, I moved on to achieve the touchable frets. By drilling small holes into the neck of the guitar I was able to push through small thin wire, which I positioned and pulled tightly against the fret ridges of the design.

I then moved onto removing the strumming function of the guitar hero, I did this due to wanting to be able to see the teensy and be able to turn it off and on directly. By opening up the body, I place the teensy inside then taped it down from behind, holding it firmly in place. The positioning of the teensy also allow for easy accessibility to be able to attach the running wire down from the neck of the guitar. By also removing the whammy bar of the guitar hero, I was able to run the wire from the teensy out through the empty hole. (where the whammy bar use to be).

Once I felt happy with all the alterations I made, I tested the overall product out several times and also got a friend to test it. I realised due to no dials or changeable effects the guitar didn’t quite have the overall impact I was looking, I knew it needed something else, as it was possible to do a lot more with it.

v-Testing Video Diary-v


Midi Xbox 360 Controller Process:

As I knew I really enjoyed creating and developing the games controller using MAXMSP and that was something I wanted to look into taking further, I come up with the idea of developing the controller into a midi device, which would then control and change the guitar hero, giving it a lot more possibilities and functionality.

I first began by taking my previously developed patch and simply expanding upon it. I looked into using MAXMSP as a midi device, I then went on to delete the functions of triggering sounds within my previous patch and replacing that function with midi send function within MAX.

Once I got the Xbox 360 controller fully functioning, I then started to midi map within Ableton. I colour coded the samples I used in correlation with the colours of the Xbox controller. I used start and back button on the controller to trigger percussion and the Y, B, A and X buttons to trigger samples and sounds. I also midi mapped the right (RB)  and Left (LB) trigger buttons for one to allow me to loop any of the samples or sounds and the other to bypass or turn on distortion. I mapped the analogue sticks for one of them to change pitch/transpose and for the other to control the amount of distortion. This would work along side the playing of the guitar, allowing you to change the pitch and level of distortion of each note you play.


The Final Product.

Final Product Testing:



Guitar Hero:

DIY Arduino Ribbon Synth

Arduino Guitar

Servo Bender

Arduino MaxMSP Guitar

Electric Guitar, Arduino, and Max/MSP/Jitter

Dubstep Guitar Demo by Mukatu

Music with Guitar Hero Controller


Connecting a Joystick to MaxMSP/Jitter

Xbox 360 Controller MaxMSP Video

Max MSP Sampler/Looper Wireless Interface Patch

XBox 360 OSC Controller

MAXMSP – MIDI Tutorial 1: Basic MIDI



I feel my project overall turn out rather well, and I personally feel I achieved what I set out to at the start of this project. The development of the project really challenged me to think of ways to over come obstacles, whilst not losing what I wanted to achieve. I feel I managed to scale down a rather complicated idea to my own technological level. So, I feel this was a personal success, in which I am happy with the outcome. If I were to do this again, I think I would focus more building upon the teensy and integrating the Xbox controller within in the guitar hero controller body itself. Overall I wasn’t too pleased with the final performance, I mistakenly brought an old template rather than the latest Ableton file. Due to this I felt it was more of a short demonstration than performance. So, If I were to do it again, I’d make sure I was more organised and practise more with the instrument in a improvised situation.

27th – 3rd Of November ~ Assignment #2: MaxMSP Patch

Slide one – The Brief: Using the tools and techniques covered in sessions 4 & 5, create your own piece of software using MaxMSP that takes an external input such as a camera feed, video, game controller or smartphone to control sound in someway. We can use any of the technologies covered in class. The aim of the assignment is to think about who will use the work, what it is being used for, where it is being used, how, and why. It is in this sense that you can start to interrogate the needs, approach, benefits and competition of the application.

Slide two – The Idea: By using some of the technique’s we covered in previous sessions of Emerging Technologies, Iv decided to create and develop a MaxMSP patch, that will allow a Microsoft games controller to trigger audio playback.

This item would be for personal live use. By self branding this gimmicky item, making it a unique feature to a live stage show, this would bring something different to your viewers, making you stand out from the crowd. Hypothetically, after awhile you could go on to brand and personally sell this item as a product.

Slide three – The Hypothetical Controls: These are the first draft of the controls I set out to achieve. I really wanted to get as much out of the controller as possible.


Slide four – The MaxMSP Patch: The Max patch took a lot of work and figuring out, I first started off by not only getting the MAXMSP to identify the controller, but to read all the various numbers, that was coming in from it. I then moved onto separating those numbers and identifying the parts of the controller. I found a great tutorial of recreating the Xbox 360 controller online, which I followed and give me a nice and clear layout of the controller on MAX. Once I finished and was happy that I achieved identifying the components of the controller, I went onto assign sounds to the controls, based on the method we covered in class.

Slide five – The Conclusion: The controller didn’t completely turn out the way I would have liked it. Although most of the buttons worked fine and I achieved the controller making sounds, I would have preferred to achieve all of the controls working and running a little smoother. I know I personally would like to take this project further and convert the controller into a midi device, that would allow the controller to trigger sounds directly from DAW software.

v The Project Pitch Presentation v

2nd Assignment Prezi

Research Links:

Connecting a Joystick to MaxMSP/Jitter

Xbox 360 Controller MaxMSP Video

Max MSP Sampler/Looper Wireless Interface Patch

XBox 360 OSC Controller

27th Of October – #3.MaxMSP Recap

Looping Patch

Today we looked into developing a patch that not only looped but also allowed you to manipulate a saw-waveform. The phasor~ in the patch is the saw-wave, which is stereo split into two separate message objects, containing the command *~  which in Maxmsp is a signal multiplier-operator that outputs a signal which is the multiplication between two signals. The next message box is the play~loop, which is Maxmsp way of reading and playing back the loop files found on the computer. This then goes into gain~ and the gain meters allows you to adjust each of the levels separately to simply mix the two sounds or bring one in and out. Finally the gain is wired up to ezdac~ which appears as a button which can be clicked with the mouse to turn audio on or off.

loop patch

23nd Of October – #2.MaxMSP Follow Up

My thoughts on – Joseph Paradiso 1998 analysis of Electronic Music Interfaces

Reading Joseph Paradiso analysis and knowing it was written in 1998, you could kinda tell he predicted or had an idea where music and especially electronic interfaces were heading and I found myself agreeing with his opinion on how Electronic music, in contrast, has no such legacy to classic acoustic instruments. He also said how The field has only existed for under a century, giving electronic instruments far less time to mature and I still feel that is still true even now.

He also went on to say the rapid and constant change in electronics including the conversion into digital and predicted how computers would play a major part in producing modern music with no additional hardware and this is undeniably true in today’s standards. Finally he also foreseen the rise of performance away from conventional electronic interfaces by saying: In the not-too-distant future, perhaps we can envision quality musical performances being given on the multiple sensor systems and active objects in our smart rooms, where, for instance, spilling the active coffee cup in Cambridge can truly bring the house down in Rio. What we’ve covered in class alone revealed this is now possible and easier than ever.

In conclusion, I  agreed with Joseph Paradiso’s analysis and feel he really had a clear understanding where music was heading and his predictions for the not-too-distant future are now truer than ever. I think the possibilities of  music these days are almost endless from producing to performing, and it is even harder than ever to predict or foresee what is in store for further future possibilities in music. But it is undeniably that classic acoustic instruments will always play a big part in music legacy.


MaxMSP Research Links

A couple of further research links covering the methods we’ve used so far:

A remote controlled visualization of the sound generated in max/msp: Sound Sync in MaxMSP

This project combines complex feedback system and self-organization system in an interactive way in order to generate amazing and spacious sounding. It visualizes the phase differences and transforms them into dramatic graphics, trying to control the unpredictability and diversity with endless and evolving feedback effects. People’s motion affects the sound and therefore change the final visual image as well as feedback effects: Audio-Visual Feedback System on Max/MSP

A great project of someone who used a Nintendo Wii controller to wirelessly modify their guitar effects: Wii Guitar Max/Msp

20th Of October – #1.MaxMSP

Audio Reactive Video

Within class we covered triggering and synchronizing visuals with sounds. By using the macintosh built in microphone to pick up the sound, we developed a patch that lip synced a video when sound was picked up.  By using several object and message possibilities in Max, we picked a video and set the start and end point. This would be the first and last frame. Then the sound coming in would trigger the motion of the video. The sound flicked and changed the frame from the start to the end point, as the sound was coming in.

T (toggle)  – A overall on or off switch.
ezadc~ – This is the object name for the microphone interface.
gain~ – The level controller of the microphone.
meter~ – A visual meter that shows the level of the output sound in dB.
scale – Scale maps an input range of float. The ranges can be specified with hi and lo reversed for invert-mapping. If specified, the mapping can also be exponential.
number – Number is a number-box used to display, input, and output integer numbers. By setting the maximum attribute to the last frame in inspector, so that the video can’t go past this point.  Also, when audio is off, the number box will display a good number frame range for a start point.
M (message) frame $1, bang – – The object provides a full suite of services for QuickTime movies: playback, editing, import, export, effect generation and direct-to-video-output-component streaming.
M – Read – Message displays and sends any given message with the capability to handle specified arguments, in this case read/open file.
loadbang – loadbang output is triggered automatically when the file is opened, or when the patch is part of another file that is opened.
Jit.pwindow – The jit.pwindow object takes a Jitter matrix and displays the numerical values as a visual image in a window you can place in any patcher.

 Talking Patch
T (toggle) > ezadc~ >gain~ >meter~ >scale >number >M (message) frame $1, bang > >M – Read >loadbang >Jit.pwindow.

v Screen shot of final working patch vTalking Patch (2)


Basic Motion Detection. 

This patch we developed in class covers the basics of motion detection. By using the built in camera on the macintosh, we triggered sound by creating a patch that read and translated any motion picked up by the webcam. The patch was set up so a certain amount of motion would trigger one of 4 sound effects. As you can see by the patch if the value was more than 0.05 then change. Small amount of movement would trigger the first sound effect, then more motion picked up by the webcam will change the active sound effect.

Chop patch

13th – 20th Of October ~ Assignment #1: Arduino / Teensy Pitch

Slide one Initial Ideas: I found it hard to settle with one idea due to the possibilities being rather endless and so broad. I first looked into the idea of creating atmospheric sound that compliments stories, poetry or images. The idea of running your hand down a page which creates the sound. I then decided to go back to basics and keep the idea simple and purely just utilize the techniques we’ve learned and covered so far in class.

Slide two The Idea: The idea I decided to pursue was to create a specialist midi controller that artists in the dubstep genre can efficiently utilize in a live setting.

Slide three The functions: The midi controller will consist of 3 buttons, 1 touch pad, 1 light sensor and 1 possible dial. The 3 buttons when pressed would trigger three separate elements of a track. The first would bring in the back-beat, the second the bass and the third would play a sample. The touch pad element to the controller would change the pitch/octave. the light sensor will control a wobble synth found in the dubstep genre. The possible dial feature of the controller would filter the sound up or down.

Slide four The Design: The design would be sleek and modern I would plan to keep the design familiar to other midi controllers for it to be easy and fast for users to pick it up and be able to use it almost instantly. The design would be sleek and modern

Slide five The possible expansion: A hypothetical expansion of the idea would be to turn/create it into a handheld video game similar to guitar hero, Dj hero and rock band.

v The Project Pitch Presentation v

1st Assignment Pitch Prezi

Research: The controllers typically found in the dupstep genre seem to be push pads, my controller would aim to simplify and not only give users a interesting way to play but also more control over dynamics.

Novation Launchpad

Ableton Live Push – Dupstep Live.

Dupstep live

2012: Tools for Creating Dubstep

13th Of October – #3. Arduino / Teensy Analogue Dials & Sensors

v.Photo taken of a rotary dial wired into the teensy.v


v.Using the same method replacing the dial with a light sensor.v

Light Sensor

The difference between analogue and digital is that analogue would be used to adjust percentage and amount. Where digital would be used to simply turn something on or off.