Artikulator ‘Finger-Painting’ Synthesizer Inspired By Xenakis, Ligeti

Developers Mike Rotondo and Luke Iannini sent word that they’ve released a new iPad app, Artikulator.

Artikulator is a multi-touch finger-painting synthesizer and music toy. But, while Rotondo & Iannini describe the app as a ‘music toy’, it also is designed to let you explore synthesis in an experimental way.

Here’s what the developers have to say about Artikulator:

Our goal is to begin freeing electronic music from being grid-based in time and pitch. We’ve found Artikulator awesome for synthesizing the sounds of nature, such as a baby crying, or waves crashing on a beach.

The human mind is pretty perceptive to this kind of free glissando, from the emotional melisma of speech to our understanding of the doppler effect to place sounds in space — so we say, why not sequence it : ).

Artikulator was inspired by ideas explored by Xenakis and Ligeti, especially Xenakis’ UPIC, which lets users ‘draw’ sounds and then paint a score.

It’s available in the App Store now for $4.99.

Artikulator was covered previously on Synthtopia, in an earlier incarnation.

4 thoughts on “Artikulator ‘Finger-Painting’ Synthesizer Inspired By Xenakis, Ligeti

  1. I have the feeling that it will take a special kind of child to appreciate this. It's actually quite elegant if you care for this kind of more "academic" music at all. There have been different systems historically based on similar ideas, like the mentioned UPIC or the Oramics machine that was used (among other things) to score film. And don't get me started on all the different graphical notation systems that were invented to capture electronic music or musique concrete (think Stockhausen for example). I don't see any of this as kids' stuff, not by far …

  2. So it's an XY pad that leaves behind a trail, then a playback scan from left to right. Basically a visual representation of recording pad input to midi. Clever, but ultimately I don't see it as musically useful. The most "musical" sounding example was the one with dots in a sequence, which looked like a piano roll. I guess you could paint some sweeps, risers, etc with this, assuming you were happy with the built in sound set. Otherwise hearing nearly random and unrelated sounds generated from a crude visual drawing isn't interesting or pleasant. I would love to see this guy turn his tech the other way around, though. Generate visuals off of my music that I input… that would be interesting.

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