1. Music making gloves
In 2012, Musician and inventor, Imogen Heap showcased her latest invention – music making gloves. The ‘Mi.Mu’ gloves allow musicians and performers to manipulate music by moving their hands. These gloves allow performers free movement, away from their sound system and works to question the relationship between musician and their instrument. “Freeing yourself up from the computer, and from the mouse and the keyboard when you’re writing music is just something which just feels so fantastic” reveals Heap.
The technologies inside the gloves consist of an accelerometer, a gyroscope, haptic motors, a programmable LED, Wi-Fi and flex sensors. Whilst the tech wears a hefty price tag of $1,200 per glove, Heap says “the plan is to try and reduce the cost of the gloves to the point where they might even be as cheap as “a keyboard and a mouse”.
2. Make music with your mind
Brainwave technology sounds like something out of a sci-fi film, but two recent projects have shown how brainwaves can control and create music. These projects not only question the relationship between a musician thinking about and then creating music but also open up opportunities for those less able to create music in the traditional sense.
In 2014, New York artist Lisa Park used an EEG headset, traditionally used to monitor student attention levels during maths, memory and pattern recognition tests, to create a musical sequence using her mind. She called it Euonia (Greek for ‘beautiful thought’.) The headset recorded her brain activities which were then sent via Bluetooth to her computer. Software then translated the brain waves into sounds which came out through a set of five speakers.
Each of the speakers was assigned a different emotion, including anger, hate, desire, sadness and happiness. In order to successfully create her music sequence; Park had to train her brain to control these emotions. She was then able to perform her musical score simply by thinking about it.
Check out the YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ywzE6vsytw
Another project which has used this technology was the The Smirnoff Mindtunes Project. By using this technology, three disabled musicians were able to create their own music by manipulating their minds.
3. Wearable metronome
Whilst some technology is designed to enhance the music making experience, this next innovation is designed to aid musicians in the process. A company from Berlin, Soundbrenner, have designed the
Soundbrenner Pulse, a wearable metronome which uses haptics to help musicians keep time and rhythm.
Co-founder, Julian Vogels, describes the Pulse as a “fitness tracker for music” which can not only replace the annoying clicking sound of metronomes during practice but also track performance and progress. “You want to focus on the music you’re playing, but at the same time you have to watch out for that click all the time. It takes the passion out of music. With a vibrational cue, the rhythm comes to you naturally – just as if someone taps on your shoulder.”
The wearable metronome can be worn on your wrist, your upper and around the ankle. Whilst the technology can be used solo, it can also be synced to a whole band and connected to software such as Logic Pro and Ableton Live.