Thursday, 13 May 2010

The end is nigh...

And that's Hi very possibly for the last time for this project, as the project is pretty much complete.

So, from where we left off last time then..

I had made a breakthrough in getting one LDR triggering MIDI within Max/MSP.
So I had a wonder over to the Max/MSP forum ( and asked for help with my single remaining problem (unless you count building the piece as a problem, but I didn't). I needed Max/MSP code to read the value from an LDR and use it to trigger a sample - much more than just the MIDI piano sound I already had. This required actual knowledge of Max!
So a member of the Max/MSP online community called Brendan stepped in and gave me a patch that did exactly what I wanted. The user gives a value (or two values that it will react between, but in my case I gave it a single value to work with) and this creates a 'bang' which, with help from Robert Taylor I had playing samples that I created - simple sine waves using Logic.

Now that the patch was there I needed to build the beast, and I have done just that.
I only had to purchase two extra LDRs (which use a slightly lower range of Ohm-age as Maplins ran out of stock of the most ideal LDR), as well as three variable resistors - one for each LDR. The first had managed to set itself on fire during some testing before. Using tape to attatch the LDRs to various things I attatched two new LDRs, one to a cardboard box and the other to the top of a pringles tube. It's nice to give it a 'bodged' home-made feel. The other advantage was saving money on purchasing breadboards when I had already bought enough breadboard real estate to fit the resistors on.

So stick a fork in me, I believe I'm pretty much done.

Here is a very brief video of the piece:

I'll do another using different samples and more accurate readings in Max very soon.

The issues that still remain are:
A) The sensitivity of each LDR could definitely improve, only time spent tweaking it will cure this problem.. which brings me to my next issue..
B) If this piece is presented at the Confetti showcase, the values given from the LDRs will differ throughout the day if presented in a room with a window, as the amount of light that leaks in will change - this means the values that the samples must be triggered at must be changed slightly throughout the day to accommodate for this.
C) This final issue is minor. To put it simply, the sine waves are quite boring and ugly sounding, especially when repeated so often. I may create a drop-down list in Max/MSP so that different samples can be loaded at the users discretion.

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