May 6, 2013

Christopher Willits on Playing Grids of Push

The inherent beauty of controllers like the Ableton Push and the Novation Launchpad is that the button layout is mean to be configured exactly how the user wants it.  Gone are the days when MIDI controllers were labeled for specific uses.  In fact, if you sell a controller that has titles under each button – you will be selling less of them.  For this reason, the square basic setup is almost always desirable.  It adds somewhat of a third dimension on a two dimensional platform, allowing you to move up and down instead of just left and right on a controller.

Organizing your button configuration is really an art of its own.  With smaller eight button controller it is easy to set it and forget it, but you will need to be much more clever if you want to use something with sixty four buttons instead.  One artist has found a way to use it more like a piano, except that its arrangement is based on harmony and geometric shapes that correspond to certain note values.  It adds to the notion that the controller can be used as an instrument rather than a prerecorded machine that plays audio clips on the fly.