advice: pitch grid instruments/monome as keyboard

  • i built my monome kit a while back without really considering how i'd use it. after i got everything running the only use i found for me was... simple midi pitch. i don't play piano and putting a semi random note arrangement on the monome with a cool synth patch is alot of fun. but the lack of velocity gets to me. i got some knobs, so i can get some filter action. and i got a knob hardwired to velocity (which acts essentially like a set and forget tone knob).

    i'm not sure the monome is 100% for me considering what i'm using it for and was wondering if anyone else was using it for straight up keyboarding. how do you feel about it? how is your setup?

    is there a midi pad controller with more than 16 pads? or something like that. saw the multitouch velocity sensitive snyderphonics manta which looks cool, but i feel like i'd need to try it before buying.

    deep down all i want is 64 velocity sensitive pads and i can add my own modwheel and pitchwheel. if they made JUST 16 pads with nothing else i'd buy 2. or 3. as long as they light up :P

  • what ive done, is code up an app that sits on a 4x16 grid, column controls pitch (scaled to a particular key), and row height controls some combination of velocity, aftertouch and pitchbend. You sacrifice note density (although i use a bank of pitch toggles), but get a lot of flexibility imo...

  • raptor is a pretty cool keyboard program u might be interested in. (if u havent already checked it out)

    i think its only for m4l tho?

  • Raptor is only m4l for now. And it's great, but it doesn't address the call for velocity sensitivity that this thread is.

    Does your MK have an accelerometer? Are you up to adding one?
    Consider this in place of your velocity knob:

  • The missing velocity is a disadvantage (although it's one that most jazz organists have endured to good effect for decades). There are two advantages, though, that make it worth it for me.

    For one thing, on a monome, with the buttons spaced like guitar strings (each column is a row of consecutive halfsteps, and the pitch in each row contains consecutive fourths), a single hand can span four octaves, no problem. I can hold a bass tone with my pinky and play a melody two octaves up with my other fingers. Not possible on any other instrument in the world, I believe. That frees up my left hand for playing drums, which is invaluable.

    For another, I believe the monome is the only interface in the world that lets one easily explore alternate temperament systems. You can try to overlay a 31-tone-per-octave series on a keyboard, but since the key pattern repeats every 12 pitches, it's horribly confusing. On a monome I just adjust the LEDs so that they repeat every 31 tones, and I'm good to go.

    I also do some stuff that's feasible on a keyboard but much more convenient with a monome, like designate a block of buttons for chord storage, and a few buttons for the following commands: "Sustain all the notes under my fingers", "sustain all these and any subsequent notes", "stop sustaining notes", "release the currently-sustained notes as soon as I play another chord, and then sustain that one", etc.

    And I'm planning to write some code that will let me transpose the chords that I've stored, according to the pitch under my feet. That should be wicked.