Computer Music is a mechatronic ensemble of floppy disk drives (FDD), hard disk drives (HDD), stepper motors, and Compact Disk Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) drives which are controlled by a MacBook Pro through four Arduino microcontrollers. The pitched FDDs and CDROMs are amplified using single-coil guitar pickups. The HDD spindles continuously spin creating a source of white noise which is interspersed with the pitched FDDs and CD-ROMs. The stepper motors raise and lower the covers to the HDDs, revealing the spinning disk while also filtering the noise created by the HDDs. The Computer Music ensemble performs music which is composed in Ableton Live. During the installation Ableton Live, running on a MacBook Pro hidden from sight, sends MIDI messages through an internal IAC bus where a Python script decodes the notes. The Python program determines what drives and motors need to be activated and coordinates four Arduinos which are responsible for directly controlling the drives. Although the MIDI messages originated from a composition written in Ableton Live, the Python script does not care where the messages originate from as long as they pass through its designated IAC bus. This flexible configuration allows the Computer Music Ensemble to be controlled from any program, or programming language, capable of outputting MIDI messages in real time.
|How Many||Amplification||Primary Use||Secondary Use||Musical Content|
|CD-ROMs||4||None||Pitched stepper motors||Disk treys||About 2 octaves|
|HDDs||4||None||Filtered noise||Percussive trey drop||Noise|
|FDDs||8||Yes||Pitched stepper motors||None||Between 2-3 octaves|