New Music For A New Instrument – Curve

Sunday Synth Jam: Synthesist Nathan M. Asman shared this video, capturing his performance of new music for a new instrument, Étude No.1, for Curve

Curve is a custom instrument, named after the shape and contour of the interface itself. Asman say that he “wanted to create something that had a myriad of different sensors and ways of controlling different musical parameters, while also maintaining the functionality and traditional idioms of other controllers, interfaces, and instruments.”

Asman designed and built Curve over the course of about 6 months. The physical interface consists of one large laser-cut piece of clear 1/4″ acrylic, to which he attached 20 pressure sensors, two touch-potentiometers, a keypad, and a 9-degrees of freedom motion sensor. He also added 60 RGB LED lights, configured to provide visual feedback.

The black cubes that cover each of the pressure sensors are made out of a semi-dense foam, which work with the pressure sensors to offer a greater range of sensitivity and interaction.

The ‘brain’ of the Curve is an Arduino Mega microcontroller, which connects via USB serial to Max/MSP, and is translated to MIDI data that controls Ableton Live. All the sound design and composition was done in Ableton Live and Max for Live.

Asman’s Étude No.1, for Curve is his first composition for the custom instrument, so the piece is designed to explore the Curve’s control and performance possibilities.

The piece is broken up into four different sections, each highlighting a performative technique that’s unique to the instrument. Each section features a different method of physical interaction with the instrument.

Asman has detailed photographs, screenshots and build information for the Curve at his site.

9 thoughts on “New Music For A New Instrument – Curve

    1. @ndrecchia: That’s exactly what it is meant to be, a versatile MIDI controller. I agree that the title of this article is rather misleading in that respect, however the text is very clear about it.

      1. Is it somehow unclear to the two of you that his instrument is a combination of a custom controller and a computer running software?

        Or are you trying to make some pretentious point about the difference between MIDI controllers and self-contained Instruments?

        This work is more creative than the majority of what I see electronic musicians share.

        I am always more impressed by people who are willing to do something original and creative and put it out there, than by people who fancy themselves to be intellectuals and critics.

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