The monome is an open-source electronic instrument by Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain that can be programmed for a wide variety of (mostly) MIDI and audio applications. Its programmable array of buttons and LEDs acts as a reconfigurable, tactile interface to MaxMSP. The monome is supported by a large online community of musicians, artists, and programmers who freely share code among each other.
Though I've never actually owned an official monome, I built a variant of one as my first electronics project, and was at one time actively developing applications for it in MaxMSP. This project is very near and dear to my heart because it got me interested in electronics and programming in the first place.
Banner image by Jeffrey Melton.
Inkblot is a MaxMSP audio application that produces Rorschach patterns and a slowly evolving synthetic drone. The inspiration for the patch comes from the idea that simple sounds can be mixed together to create more complex sounds, an idea called additive synthesis. In this patch, each pixel represents one frequency of a harmonic series. When a pixel becomes active, its respective frequency is incorporated into the mix to create a gradually evolving soundscape that, over time, produces a wide range of timbres and textures. Download inkblot here. More info at monome.org.
Tone map records the frequencies and amplitudes of an incoming audio signal as you drag your finger across the monome grid. In play mode these frequencies and amplitudes are re-synthesized when the lit buttons are pressed. Requires the pitch~ object by Tristan Jehan. Download tone map here. More info at monome.org.
Arpeggiator is a MaxMSP MIDI application that transposes a three note arpeggiated chord to produce intuitive chord progressions. Download arpeggiator here.