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Collaborative Instrument - Prototype

My system is a sampler that uses buttons to trigger audio samples and an ultrasonic sensor to map distance 
to a delay effect. It is a prototype for a collaborative instrument. 

produced by: Valeria Radchenko

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Description of my system

This system is composed of 2 buttons and an ultrasonic sensor interfacing with Ableton through a Max for Live patch. Physical movement is "sensed" by the sensors, is sent as serial to a Max for Live patch, which controls parameters in Ableton  (triggering samples and modulating audio effects) and “reacts” through my laptop speakers. I chose to use Ableton and my laptop to have more control over the sound. I wanted to make something easy and fun to use to promote interaction, prioritising the process of understanding how the instrument works as a means of connecting over musicality. Collaborating 
on sound/music to connect with others is part of my artistic practice, and this is something I wanted to explore further through this project. 

Working on this project was inspiring and empowering because now I feel like its within my reach to create musical instruments and controllers instead of having to buy them. Though I was not able to fully realise the concept I had planned, the system I’m demonstrating is the most essential part of it, the spine of the skeleton. Ultimately, here the collaboration lies in the creation of the instrument rather than in its use, as I would not have been able to make this had it not been for my classmates, as well as online forums. During the class demonstration, I used it as a controller to perform a soundpiece with and found it successful in that capacity. People seemed interested in how to use it and its appearance, the ultrasonic sensor being particularly effective. I can see myself developing it as a tool for performances in the future, customising it depending on its specific use.

Download the code here


“Clamour” by Simon Katan and Luke Fraser 

“Programming in Max for Live” tutorials by Cycling’74

“Max 7 Tutorial # 25: Sampling Using Buffer~” by dearjohnreed

Arduino Code

"Arduino - Ultrasonic Sensor" by tutorialspoint

"MAX msp 7: Sending data from arduino into Max" by Programming for People.

Max for Live Patch

Expression Control effect by Ableton 

Dimmer by David A. Mellis 

Special thanks to Harry Morley and Dan Evans for helping me with Max.