Monday, January 27, 2014

PD or Pure Data, another useful software tool in the development of the midi-pad or tactilemusic-pad

In my search for looking for methods to control a midi synth like qsynth with the midi-pad, I found a tool that might come in handy. It's called PD or Pure Data and it's is a group of open source software and libs. At first looking at what it does it seems it has so many uses that it becomes hard to get a full understanding of what it is or what it does. My first impression is that it would provide a method to prototype how we want any input of data to manipulate sound. As this is much of what we want to do is map methods of how touching the surface of a touch-pad with multi-touch X,Y,Z data output, And how we want this output to effect the output of our musical instrument sound output. At first glance PD (Pure Data) looked to be perfect for this task, but with longer analysis it looks to have some weakness in that it may not work in real-time as needed for a real-time playable live instrument that I had planed for the midi-pad or tactilemusic-pad to be. But I still think it would be perfect in the design stage at least to try different methods of touch-pad mapping and as a method of illustrating how a midi-pad implementation would work. At some point in the future (or maybe even now) I should also assume that computers will become fast enough to possibly use PD or it's scripts or programs in real-time, when faster inexpensive computers become available. Otherwise I think when a method or methods of mapping are chosen to become real-time candidates of a midi-pad instrument configuration, that the PD scripts would have to be compiled into something that can run in real-time on inexpensive hardware ether in a C++ or asm, or even into hardware DSP (Digital Signal Processor) or asic designs depending on the complexity of the script and the amount of money you had to spend. I will begin to play with PD (Pure Data) and find out how we can best make use of it in this project. Minimally as an illustrator so we can actually demonstrate the operation and hear sound output of a midi-pad even without having one or without even having any touch-pad at all with simulated input. To get a basic understanding of what PD is and what it can do here is a video of a simple application of a PD script and how it can be manipulated in real-time with a resulting in changes in sound output in this example.

another good example of the basics in programming in PD seen in this video:

I might also add that I see some talk of work on a PD compiler that would be a big benefit to us. This would make it possible to make a prototype in PD and later compile the code to get it to run in real-time as our touch-pad musical instrument. I see a lot of hope for such methods in the design of not only the tactile musical touch pad but in many other new musical instrument input devices and concepts of controlling the production of sound and music.

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