MUS 250A - Final Project

The GlideBoard

  • What is it?

The GlideBoard is a keyboard that has additional functionality and playing dimensions as compared to the average electronic keyboard of today. Each key has position and pressure sensitivity in addition to velocity sensing and after touch. This means that the keyboard is aware of the position of the fingers on each one of the keys as well as how hard the keys are being pressed.


  • Why?

The next most obvious question is why on earth would anyone do that?? Well, the first motive for doing so is because of the fact that existing keyboards require you to take your hand off the keyboard in order to apply pitch shifting or any other modulation effect. The idea here is to be able to simultaneously play the keyboard and also apply the effect.

The second cool thing about this keyboard is that it bridges the gap (well atleast tries to!) between non-stringed and stringed instruments. By being able to execute slides on each key, chord bending and vibrato, it opens up new possibilities for creative expression (or at least a new dimension of fun and weird noises :) ).


  • The building process!

This model or prototype was built on an existing M-Audio keyboard (KeyRig 49). We just used the physical mechanics of the keyboard but none of the electronics to make the building process quicker. Each key has a linear potentiometer sensor mounted on it and a force sensing resistor under the key. The outputs from the keys (spanning two octaves) were multiplexed and sent to the ATMega 644 microcontroller which was talking to Pure Data (Pd) via Open Sound Control (OSC) messages. Too much mambo jambo? Thats why the links are provided!

The demo patches used for the presentation were created in Pd. I haven't put them up but if you're interested, send me an email.


  • Presentation video and sound samples

Coming soon!