imitone for live performance (+ April Fools'!)
April Fools! The patent litigation threat mentioned in my last update was a joke. The tipoff was the patent number I referenced -- an infamous attempt to lay claim on the concept of "toasted bread". Fortunately, imitone hasn't fallen victim to patent trolling yet -- but it remains a worry I have. As they say, there's a kernel of truth in every joke.
A video preview came out today in which YouTuber Robin Bjerke performs a cello jam using imitone's expression and vibrato modes together. A more skilled singer than I, Robin combines these to impressive effect:
This is one of the best demonstrations so far of what I'm aiming to make possible with imitone. Without a pre-existing idea or plan, the program allows you to experiment and hear your ideas take form instantly. This means you can try a new melody every few seconds, approaching music-making as a purely explorative process. As a game designer, I appreciate play.
Another implication of this instant, expressive control is that imitone has the potential to be used in live performance. With its unique combination of expressive controls, imitone allows control over multiple instrument parameters in real-time. The only thing keeping you from transforming yourself into a synthesizer and jamming out with a live band is, well, the band! Recording in loud environments, especially musical ones, can confuse imitone. But there's good news:
We have the technology.
What you see above is a $3 contact microphone, or "piezo". It's designed to be stuck onto an acoustic guitar for low-quality recording. If pressed gently against your throat, it's good enough to control imitone precisely -- even in an extremely loud environment. Credit for this idea goes to Robin Arnott, who has been using it to demonstrate our project SoundSelf at conventions and parties.
Another advantage of a contact microphone is that you don't need to worry about feedback from your speakers, making headphones unnecessary. Of course, holding something against your neck can be a little bothersome. If you want to keep your hands free, you could pony up $15 for one of these:
Throat microphones, famously used by secret service agents and bodyguards, are a great pickup that can be hidden under the collar. If you don't mind feeling like Agent Smith from The Matrix, these might just be the best option available for live music performance. Just make sure you buy one for computers -- most of these are radio accessories.
To be clear: special microphones are not necessary to use imitone. They simply serve to "soundproof" it in loud environments.
However, if you've pre-ordered imitone prime, they let you do something remarkable: If you have multiple singers, all using contact or throat microphones, each singer can control a different instrument. This means a group of friends could become a string quartet, or a ska band, or a synthetic soundscape, jamming out in real-time. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to try that!
And very soon, I will --