Instruments as games – games as instruments

instruments-as-games

Here’s a pair of diametrically opposed hacks. One makes use of a real instrument to play Rock Band, the other makes use of a game controller to play real music.

[Tim] lets us know that his friend figured out how to play Rock Band 2 on expert level by playing flute instead of singing. Of course this works because the game is just looking for the correct frequency for scoring. It makes sense that the vocal lines can be offset by an octave and still register correctly. We wouldn’t have thought of this ourselves but now that we’ve seen her success, we will try it (our instrumental skills far out pace our singing talents).

Seeing this sparks a correlation with Phone Phreaking, which started with a blind kid singing a tone into the receiver to make the remainder of his long distance call free. This was followed by Blue Boxes that allowed people without perfect pitch to play the tones electronically. It would be interesting to see what could have been done with a talented flute player (like the beat-boxing flutist) and one of those old phone networks.

On the other side of the coin, we have [Jordan's] project in which she creates midi controllers using Wii drums from Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band. The Guitar Hero drums are velocity sensitive, a feature she’s using in her setup. The MIDI data takes into account how hard the drums are struck and the resulting sound reflects that. This particular writeup outlines her use of Osculator for the velocity sensitive system, but you can also check out the tutorial she wrote covering the use of JunXion with the Rock Band controller that we covered in the past.

Video for both of these control schemes is included after the page break. We love to see people break the guise of “I’m creating music by playing a video game” and actually use their musical talents in a new and interesting way.

Flute plays Rock Band.

Beatboxing Flute.

Wii drums as midi controllers.

Comments

  1. EdZ says:

    If the vocal section of *-band games is frequency-based alone, it seems like a perfect candidate for a Vocaloid ‘hack’. No results on Youtube or Nicovideo, so it looks like nobody has tried this before. Unfortunately I don’t own any of the required games, and the hardware is rather expensive.

  2. Squintz says:

    My daughter is learning to play the flute. She is in 4th grade and I bet she would love to play it to band hero. Thanks for the post.

  3. mukmuk says:

    oooh! [Jordan's] wii drum project is EXACTLY the start I was looking for. I have a DJ Hero turntable controller that is just begging me to turn it into a midi device.

  4. Decepticon says:

    Actually Hackaday….the ‘blind kid’ – Joe Engressia – whistled (not sang) into the phone if you read your history correctly.

  5. sly says:

    ah… the good ol’ days :-p

  6. 8175 says:

    2600Hz

  7. milly says:

    the very first picture has been flipped horizontally and makes the flute player look very odd because she’s holding the flute backwards.

  8. Mike Szczys says:

    @milly: Good eye. I wanted them back-to-back but I also wanted the two pictures to match the title, so after putting the two together I flipped it horizontally.

  9. Rollyn01 says:

    Uhhhh….. am I the only one that notice that the woman( who I assume is named Jordan) is the one playing the flute, not Tim?

  10. BLinc says:

    @Rollyn01

    Tim refered HAD to his friend whom is the girl in the first vid playing the flute to avenged.

    Jordan is the girl or the trans gendered which ever you prefer in the last video at the end of the post

  11. spieleaffe says:

    I think he’s truly fascinating. They glossed over him pretty quickly in that documentary about phone phreaking. I can’t seem to find it right now to link though.

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