Pitch Canvas: Touchscreen Based Mobile Music Instrument

Strylowski, Bradley and Allison, Jesse and Guessford, Jesse

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Mobile music applications are typically quite limiting to musicians, as they either attempt to mimic non-touch screen interfaces or do not offer enough control. Pitch Canvas is a musical interface that was built specifically for the touchscreen. Pitches are laid out in a hexagonal pattern that allow for easy scale, chord, and arpeggiation patterns. Notes are played by touch, but are sustained through continuous movement. Pitch bends can be achieved by passing through the space between the notes. Its current implementation runs only on Apple iPad tablet computers using a libPd to convert user interaction into audio. An iPad overlay offers physical feedback for the circles as well as the pitch bend area between the circles. A performable version of the application has been built, though several active developments allow alternative sonic interpretation of the gestures, enhanced visual response to user interaction, and the ability to control the instrument with multiple devices.