Alejandro Crawford


VONOME is a piano that plays videos instead of musical notes; it is the groove behind the infamy of the sound bite.

Live Image Processing and Performance

Vonome is a portmanteau of the words video and Monome. It is a musical instrument as well as an interactive installation, as well as a versatile max/msp/jitter patch.

A five-octave polyphonic keyboard, Vonome plays videos rather than musical notes. Every octaval instance of every key on the keyboard corresponds to a different point in that key's source video.

Striking any combination of keys projects any number of videos (up to 60) onto a screen which is organized into a 10 x 6 grid.

The grid is organized chromatically and in a counter-clockwise spiral, where bottom C is the top-left video.

I am interested in the Vonome as both a musical instrument and a conceptual instrument. I am interested in the notion of music as data entry. For example, if someone played "Clair de Lune" on the Vonome, what would that look and sound like? And so on. The answer is of course contingent upon the videos, which are pre-assigned to each key.

I am also interested in the politics of selecting video sources for the Vonome's keys, especially in concert with the politics of selecting a song to "enter as data" into the Vonome.

But of course you don’t have to be a pianist or even a musician to play the Vonome, though rhythm is always welcome; and there's a seemingly infinite number of video mashes that can occur, each one more interesting than the last.

There's one video on YouTube pertaining to the idea of live video mashing (in the context of max/msp). It turns out he's a friend of ITP second-year Winslow. And it's actually Winslow's mousepad in the video.

Everyone can play.

User Scenario
The keyboard rests on a pedestal, podium, or keyboard stand at a good couch-to-TV ratio in front of the projection screen.

People play the keyboard and fall in love with the Vonome.

Vonome is a keyboard connected to my macbook pro running a max/msp/jitter patch, along with a projector {rear} projecting my desktop at 1440 X 900 onto a large screen.