PadMaster: an interactive improvisation environment

Work on PadMaster started at the end of 1993. PadMaster is a program written in Objective-C on the NeXT platform designed for directed improvisation using a Radio Drum as the main interface element (using a custom protocol burned into EPROM that enabled the surface to be properly calibrated). It could play external synthesizers through two MIDI interfaces and play soundfiles as well.

It was used in several pieces, first a duo with Chris Chafe playing his Celleto (Espresso Machine II), then With Room To Grow, performed only once, which quickly evolved into a solo piece, House of Mirrors. These pieces were performed many times between 1993 and 1997.


PadMaster was described in papers accepted at ICMC 1995 and ICMC 1996. A preliminary manual describes its inner workings in more detail.