Visual instruments


I’d like to explain a concept im taking through to proof of concept for my uni degree (interactive design)

Ive been struck that visualisations on stage for bands etc tend to be driven by fft data and beat detection. Whilst i enjoy these visualisatins I dont feel they reflect the actual intracacies of the musicians interaction with his instrument.

Using midi id like to create a visualisation for each of the bands instrument.
Imagine that as a guitarist plucks at his strings each note and and its attack etc is individually represented on screen. I envision streak of light shooting up and decaying away as the musician plays.

I hope that will add a true sense visual feedback to the musicians musical input.

Id be grateful for any feedback, have you seen anything like this before? do you think the concept will work?


I also plan to use arduino and an accelerometer to capture the musicians movement whilst playing. For example if placed on the guitarist “strumming” hand i hope to effect the visuals in a manner that captures the motion.

Yes, technical everything is possible you describe above.

Conceptual you have to be carefull that the interaction of the musicians is still recognizable and not chaotic in one picture, but there are many ways to visualize it. (projection, lights, mapping, laser, watercannon, fire, even motors or robots …)

Here are some cool projects based on v4 based, sound, midi-interaction and musicians.

Abstract Birds, they did a projekt with an whole orchester, I don`t realy know how they seperate the different instruments but I saw a perforemance of those great artists at node - there they use midi-Instrumets (Piano and Flute)

Patric and Antonio visualized a Guitarinteraction with v4 and a Hardware-MidiInterface

Paul Prudence, composed his sounds with ableton and piped the midi-signales to v4

Jonas build a cool looking lightpiano

Eno bangs and influences his visuals at Audion “Hecatomb Tour” with Midi-Signals

Rainers cool sound visualization “Ghostwriter” but I don`t know if they were influenced by midi or sound, but i like the visualization of sound

Johannes the same

There are a lot of good v4 examples:

I also started with v4 at my diploma-thesis now I am addicted, good luck man.

Thats great thanks for those links, i’ll get right on them.