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Computer Science Department

A Software Based Musical Device/Instrument for the WiiMote

Robbie Jacobs

This Senior Project is a software based Wii Remote musical instrument/device that can be intuitively played to create and manipulate music.

This is done by the interpretation of MIDI signals and their correspondence to software/synthesizer parameters. MIDI is a standardized protocol used by musical synthesizers and (now) computers to communicate and interact. MIDI is commonly used to connect a MIDI Piano Keyboard to a computer/software-based instrument to play musical notes as if emulating a real piano. Additionally, MIDI can control parameters of the instrument. MIDI Control Change (CC) numbers and values determine which and how the instruments parameters behave and operate (like volume, clip/loop launching, pause, play, stop, etc.)

The device/instrument will be the "brain" for the WiiMote. It constantly interprets MIDI signals controlled by movement and buttons, and performs specific operations. It will be programmed in Max/MSP completely from the ground up, and have the ability to process or effect an input audio signal along with the ability to play musical notes through/to a software synthesizer. It is possible to have "playing" and "effecting" capabilities stored in two modes or "mappings". This gives the user two different ways to create and/or recreate music. Because the WiiMote has been ported to become a midi device before, many examples can be found on the internet of WiiMote musicians. However, this project is not an attempt to mimic anyone else's WiiMote instrument. Rather, it is aimed to properly coalesce computers and humans' instrumentalism. The user will eventually be able to learn the instrument; having the ability to recall certain routines and combinations that produce multi-layered effects processing.