Module Task 2 – MIDI Controller

MD5357 Audio Interaction and Code, Semester 1, Year 2

For Module task 2 we had to create a MIDI controller that works with Ableton and functions as a useable controller. In order to achieve this, I completed the wiring up of the Teensy correctly and downloaded the Arduino patch on to the Teensy after checking all of the information was correct. From here I loaded up Ableton and changed the parameters so the controller was ready to be used. I then added a sound sample and some effects to adjust the sound of the sample as well as mapping the controller selections such as the potentiometer and the LDR to the correct regions on the software. The controller works straight away and made adjustments to the sample I was using. If I were to use another sensor with this, I would use a motion sensor to move over and adjust a different section of the effects in order to make it easier to control without needing to move too much.

Raspberry Pi and Arduino Sound and Light Sensors

MD5357 Audio Interaction and Code, Semester 1, Year 2

There’s are multiple types of sensors that work with both Arduino and Raspberry Pi from PIR motion sensors, sound sensors to light and proximity sensors. These have multiple uses and have been used on a majority of different projects from creating automation in haunted houses to creating full-on automated light shows at Christmas such as the video below.

Arduino controlled Christmas light show

The creator behind this Christmas lightshow uploaded a blog post and explained how he created this step by step and even uploaded the Arduino lightshow code in order to copy this in to your own session.

Whilst this project was created by programming MIDI music on to an Arduino and pushing this through relay boards there are other projects sensors can be used for, another example of this is for sound triggered and motion sensors.

Seeed are a company who offer a selection of different sensors which word in conjunction with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, In the following video there has been lights created to run off of both motion and sound/loudness.

Seeed motion sensor and loudness sensor control

Within this video, the set-up has been designed to run in two ways one is by setting of the PIR sensor which adjusts the brightness of the lights whenever a motion of someone walking past is detected. The loudness sensor works by determining how loud the audio is and adjusting the lights dependent on the volume of the noise.

These have multiple uses not just when it comes to light but also adjusting sound, colours and much more. There is undoubtedly a use for these across many industries and I think you’d be surprised to see how much control you have over these sensors.

JavaScript Scribbletune

MD5357 Audio Interaction and Code, Semester 1, Year 2

Scribbletune is a free open source JavaScript node which is designed to help and construct musical ideas with JavaScript and export them as MIDI files. Scribbletune can also be used with Ableton and Max for Live.

Here is some sample code as an idea of what Scribbletune does

Scribbletune can be used to create random chords, generate riffs, breakbeats and even drum and bass riffs. It can also be used in conjunction with online software such as Johann which is a web application used for generating charts for guitars, piano and computer keyboards to practice scales and chords.

Scribbletune is demoed and presented at JavaScript meetups (and recently Electronic Music meetups) across the US and is a game changer for creating music.

Their website is here and as well as explaining its use also gives a link to GitHub where it can easily be downloaded.

Piece of Pokemon music created in Scribbletune

Mario guitar made from 10,000 lollipop sticks

MD5357 Audio Interaction and Code, Semester 1, Year 2

All over the internet you will be able to find all different kind of instruments that have been made out of everyday objects such as skateboards, crayons and even iPhones, all of these are impressive in their own right, however, one YouTube channel sticks out to me when thinking about object made instruments and that channel is Cranmer Guitars. Cranmer Guitars is ran by a Glaswegian man who builds guitars out from his workshop in Glasgow and has made some incredible pieces so far.

My favourite piece to date is the Mario guitar. The Mario guitar was a one off build and was made by 10,000 lollipop sticks and took around 800 hours to make. The entire guitar was made from the lollipop sticks from the body to the head of the guitar as oppose to just the body as usually seen on other videos.

Cranmer Guitars spent around 7 months working on the full build and documented the whole process which is a very interesting watch to see how these sticks gradually evolved in to the guitar whilst using a reference image to match the colours to the proper image.

Cranmer Guitars has a lot of different videos as well as a website where you can put in custom requests and see his other work. It’s truly remarkable some of the things which have been created and I have attached his website and videos below for you to view how amazing this truly is.

Full front view of the Mario guitar
Fret board of the Mario guitar
Headstock of the Mario guitar
Back view of the Mario guitar
Full build video filmed over several months.
Demo of the complete Mario guitar being played.

Africa by Toto in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

MD5357 Audio Interaction and Code, Semester 1, Year 2

For those who aren’t familiar with the game Animal Crossing it’s a game series available from Nintendo with the newest addition to this being Animal Crossing: New Horizons which was released on the Nintendo Switch in March of 2020. In this game you play as a human who has moved to a deserted island and need to gather villagers in the form of multiple talking animals and build a house as well as populating the island with shops and attractions along the way. The game even lines up with real time events such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

You are able to gain items for you house including musical instruments, and this is where the fun starts. Each instrument is (slightly) playable meaning you can interact with them and they will make different noises. A YouTuber of the name Mako Ray realised this and took a sample of each tone of the instruments and decided to make an Animal Crossing cover of the famous Africa by Toto using Vegas Pro to stitch it together.

This video reached over two and a half million views and continues to draw people in. The fact that people are now using games to make music amazes me and I have put the finished product and photo of the final editing piece below for you to view and see how this amazing piece of work was made and what the final outcome was. Maybe even try it yourself!

Footage of the Animal Crossing cover of Toto being sown together.
Animal Crossing cover of Africa by Toto.

Arduino Lo-Fi Orchestra

MD5357 Audio Interaction and Code, Semester 1, Year 2

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on hardware and software which has multiple purposes. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board using the Arduino programming language.

Arduinos have been used in thousands of different projects however the project I have been looking at in particular is a Lo-Fi orchestra made out of multiple Arduinos as well as some MIDI outputs such as a monitor and synthesiser. The artist who creates covers of songs and TV and film soundtracks has coded all of the music into the Arduinos himself and simplified the music to help give the Arduino a chance where possible. Once all of this has been assembled he attaches a Pringles tube to act as a speaker and plays the songs out using a fully coded Lo-Fi orchestra.

The channel called Simple DIY Electro Music Projects recently released a video where he coded the Good Omens opening theme into the Arduino and played it in its entirety which also caused the song to get stuck in one of the Arduinos.

Simple DIY Electro Music Projects – Good Omens theme Lo-Fi Orchestra

He’s also created videos and posted on his blogs outlining his set up for the orchestra and explaining what each item in his set up does.

The amount of time this man has put into projects is incredible and it’s definitely worth viewing his channel to see what videos he’s done and what he continues to do.

Arduino board
Arduino Lo-Fi Orchestra

Immersive sound in Halloween attractions.

MD5353 Around Sound, Semester 1, Year 2

Due to current circumstances, we have seen many changes made to events both in the UK and internationally, however, one of the aspects that hasn’t changed is the use of audio in attractions and during this post I’m going to be looking at Halloween attractions in particular. With Halloween just past and both video and audio walkthroughs alike being posted on social media platforms, I decided to delve deeper into what makes haunted houses different every year.

Aside from the theming and aesthetics a huge part of any haunted house or any immersive attraction does come down to the music, whether you realise it or not music does give you cues of how to feel and when to feel it. It does this in a variety of ways and the people who create these tracks have an idea of the vibe they want to give, Slash described this very well when creating the music for Clowns 3D explaining how he had an idea in his head which was much different to what the creative director originally envisioned but it worked perfectly.

Slash talking about creating music for Clowns 3D

There is a channel on YouTube of the name Relaxing Reality who go to different theme parks and events around the US recording everything in 3D binaural and 360 spatial audio with ambix. Over the past few years they have recorded the mazes from Universal Studios Orlando Halloween Horror Nights which is one of the world’s biggest Halloween attractions. The record these attractions allowing people to watch back and listen as if they were actually there themselves.

When you listen to the way that these have been recorded using 3D Ambisonics meaning you can hear sound from all angles you can most definitely hear the difference when it comes to listening to the sound in normal stereo captured directly through a camera and by through moving the 360 VR spacial sound video around.

The difference between mono, stereo, 5.1 surround sound and 3D ambisonics.

The same channel uploaded a normal walkthrough recording using just a camera and I have linked the same maze below so you can watch both side by side and really hear the difference for yourself be sure to listen with earphones to get the full effect.  

Beetlejuice Haunted House – HHN 2020 – Relaxing Reality – 360 VR 3D spacial sound 0:11 – 5:30
Beetlejuice Haunted House – HHN 2020 – Relaxing Reality – stereo sound

I truly believe that immersive audio will continue to thrive throughout the coming years becoming more and more impressive and breaking boundaries on what people believe is possible and I for one can’t wait to see the progress moving forward.

MD3537 – Intro Post

MD5357 Audio Interaction and Code, Year 2

During this module I will be looking in to ways to manipulate and use a range of different software’s and hardware’s in order to make music and sounds relevant to personal projects. The four categories I will be looking at are existing hardware, existing software, framework hardware and framework software. I will be researching these categories in further detail by using resources such as YouTube videos, books and where possible contacting people in the relevant fields. I will also be using different software’s and hardware’s across the module to get a feel how each one works and will act differently depending on how you wish to use it and what this may benefit when it comes to using it for any pieces of work in the future.

I am currently interested in creating immersive sound and soundscapes for experiences such as escape rooms and walkthrough mazes like those experienced at Thorpe park fright nights and Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Orlando. I want my research to express how I have taken this into consideration and find the best and most efficient way to use items such as sensors and sound triggers to work out when is best to use them. I also want to try different software’s and see how different platforms can be used to their ability when it comes to creating sounds as I really want to get across that sound can hugely impact the way you experience attractions.

Individual Projects

MD4220 - The Music Business, Semester 2, Year 1

Forming Down Not Out – I decided to form a cover band in 2018 under the name “New Kinda Tension” with Ryan Stewart as the drummer and myself on rhythm guitar with two other members. It was a band to cover pop-punk bands such as Green Day, All Time Low and Fall Out Boy. Our original lineup gradually changed due to commitment issues and I took Jo Oliver on temporarily as a stand in whilst we found a new member. The whole band ended up with such chemistry that we stayed together permanently which lead to us writing and playing our own songs which then lead to us changing our name to Down Not Out. We then rearranged members and had a switch around so that Jo took over lead guitar which she had never done before, however, Jo and I have always played guitar well together so this change worked well for us, shortly after James Maxwell joined the band as our bass player. In December of 2019 both the band and James mutually agreed that he would leave and in January we took on our newest member of the band Amy Penny who has been with us since. I believe we now have the strongest line up we have had so far when it comes to goals as we’re all driven to wanting the same thing.

Playing Instruments –  the first instrument I began playing was the drums. I was doing this for fun from around the age of 11 and then I got properly in to it at the age of 15 when my dad brought me an electric drum kit. I was completely self-taught and used to play drum covers before joining my first band as their drummer, I remained in this band for just over a year before leaving when I joined sixth form. Although I have continued to play drums throughout the years I have become more proficient across other instruments and so started to play drums less.

From here I moved on to bass guitar at the age of 17 and took a few pointers from Jo as we met in sixth form and Jo could already play bass. It was here that Jo and I formed our first band with a fellow classmate and began performing music together in school shows and events under the name “The Full Moon Theory” this continued throughout sixth form however never became a serious venture for us. Around six months after learning how to play bass guitar I made the transition to acoustic and electric guitar and I found myself picking this up the fastest of all the instruments I have learnt. I was self-taught across all instruments and I have always been fast at learning patterns which made guitar easier.  Since starting guitar in 2012 this has been my main instrument since and I have been working on progressing my skill level on this over the last 8 years. I have been posting guitar covers on my YouTube channel throughout the last 5 years and recently began posting small clips such as guitar solos and parts of covers on my Instagram page.

Recording Instruments – I began gaining experience with recording studios in 2012 with our recording studio in sixth form, whilst in sixth form I recorded drums, vocals, podcasts and guitars along with a wide range of other instruments. After joining university in 2019 I’ve since had experience with recording with a range of different mics across all three categories of dynamic, condenser and ribbon, I’ve also used USB microphones for streaming and home recording. I’ve recorded two full band covers in university which consisted of guitars, vocals, drums and bass and I want to progress further with recording over my next remaining years of university.