Making Interactive Sound

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What are we going to do?

This course will introduce three platforms or development environments: Max, Processing and Arduino. We will then get each of them to talk to each other so that we can build interactive sound installations with visuals and physical controllers.

Throughout the sessions you will be able to design interactions between physical the world and audio and video generated by a computer. In each session you will have time to design and develop an idea of your own along with completing exercises to help inspire. By the end you will have produced a prototype of an installation that you will be able to further develop beyond the course using the tools you will have learned in the sessions.

Course Overview

  • Session 1: Max
  • Session 2: Processing
  • Session 3: Arduino
  • Session 4: Putting It All Together


Useful links to help you along.




Session 1: Max

In this session you will generate audio/music in real-time and learn about different synthesis and audio processing techniques.

Introducing Max

Programming in Max

MIDI and Messages in Max

Max and Audio

Session 2: Processing

In this session you will learn how to generate and manipulate video and images in real-time.

Introducing Processing

  • What is Processing
  • Exercise 1
    • Open up Processing and go to Examples... under the Files menu
    • Run different examples to see what you can do.

Basic Drawing


  • Mouse Events in Processing
  • Keyboard Events in Processing
  • Exercise 3
    • Create a "screen saver" animation that runs until you move the mouse or kit a key.
  • Detecting Where the Mouse is in Processing
  • Exercise 4
    • Make your landscape interactive. Add a sunrise or another animation.

Keeping Track of Data

Expanding Processing

  • Using External Libraries
    • OpenGL and GL Graphics
    • ToxicLibs
    • Video

Session 3: Arduino

In this session you will learn how to work with digital and analogue sensors that detect what is happening the real world.

Introducing Arduino

Working with Sensors

Session 4: Putting It All Together

In this session we will combine what we've learned in previous sessions to make an audio and video installation that responds to physical actions by participants. You will have a chance to refine and finish the project that you have been developing each week.

Introduction to OSC

Introduction to Serial

  • Exercise 4
    • Design and build an interactive system that uses physical sensors to trigger sounds in Max and visuals in Processing.
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