I think that nonlinearity is critical in the study and practice of art; figuring out the relationship of one thing to another without falling on the prejudice of zero-sum duality. You can see that in Shock: and in The BLOODY-HANDED NAME of BRONZE as well as my music.
You’ll notice that my music doesn’t use a keyboard. Mine is a common enough position to take in experimental music, where the 12 note scale is considered a particular cultural artifact that’s no more useful than any other way of perceiving frequencies and their relationships. But controllers rarely take into account the nonlinearity that the synthesizers themselves do.
Ribbon controllers get away from the stepped notes, allowing both slides and abrupt jumps in, say, pitch, allowing you to play “notes” or bend them around in potentially infinite variation. But they’re still linear and dualistic: sliding your finger to the right makes a parameter go up. Sliding it left makes it go down.
There’s a neat way to build a ribbon controller, though, that allows you to use two fingers at once. Each end of the ribbon is a separate parameter. When you press down with one finger, one value goes up while the other goes down. But if you put down two fingers, you can make them operate semi-independently; whichever finger is closest to the left affects the left parameter and whichever is closest to the right affects the right parameter.
If this were a violin, imagine that the bow, which can move slower or faster to affect volume, was tied to its vicinity to the bridge, which introduces some really weird harmonics. With a 2-ended ribbon cable, you can couple or uncouple those parameters. You can have volume affect the harmonics or you can separate them.
Then it dawned on me that you could do this with any number of parameters. And that if you use an odd number, they are always coupled nonlinearly. And that got VERY interesting!
Coincidentally, I have a triangular caution sign I found in the middle of the street.
I’ll be back in the workshop later this week. I can’t wait to start experimenting with this. I’ll probably do it on my Twitch stream, which you should subscribe to!