There is a huge range of browser (and we are talking Google Chrome specifically here) based audio apps available and more appearing every week. Some are just noise toys that might keep you occupied for a few minutes where as others have capabilities approaching a full features DAW or synthesizer. The great thing about all of these is their accessibility, in terms of availability but also many offer both keyboard control and mouse/touch access (some even offer MIDI so you can plug in your Akai LPD8 for example). This means they can be made accessible to users of alternative input devices very easily. This week I’m going to look at ButtonBass.com which is a fantastic resource for the sheer range of apps it offers. Although each app in itself doesn’t offer much functionality they make up for this by offering many variations on the idea, each with a different pallet of sounds. Have a play around with the Reggaeton Cube below.
As well as the cube type interfaces they have a similar loop mixing idea controlled by a mixer style interface then a range of different Guitars (press Ctrl for power chords 🙂 and keyboard based synths and pianos (touch or keyboard).
Some ways of setting up alternative access to these apps might be to use a MakeyMakey, a Stealth Switch, JoyBox or even this low cost Switch Connector Cable from Grapevine (many musicians built carrers on 3 chords). You could also hack an old keyboard to create your own interface. You could use a TobiiEyeX and Iris to create a hands free interface using a similar principle to what I did in this video. For all these make sure you have keyboard control activated within ButtonBass.
Finally if a user doesn’t have the ability to play notes to time, maybe they use scanning activated by a single switch, then some of the apps allow you to compose tunes using strings of letters. Have a look at the Xylophone (okay it doesn’t sound great) or the Drum kit although I’m not sure how to access the text input area without using the mouse.