Drawing Sound

Drawing Sound is an interface that uses a single contact microphone to turn an everyday surface such as a tabletop into a responsive and user-discoverable music device. The contact microphone responds to the user brushing (rubbing) and/or tapping the surface with their hand or other chosen tool. Dependant on several combinations the rub and tap control and trigger the musical parameters, transforming a library of sound clusters into a melodic soundscape.

By using this interface on a surface on which you encourage the audience to draw, you invite participants to compose a melody simultaneously to composing a picture. Drawing tools and surfaces that can be used for this installation amongst others include a blackboard and chalk; a wooden surface, paper and crayons; or even a rough glass surface and marker pens.

A basic version of this interface was previously exhibited as part of I spy with my little eye…To see the video on how much the audience enjoyed the experience please visit Drawing Sound video

A gadget for your event 

Drawing Sound can be integrated into all kinds of settings, in particular where the event organiser wishes to encourage their audience to draw. From experience we know that even people that shy away from drawing normally loose all inhibition once they start drawing and creating sound at the same time. It no longer becomes about what you draw but about the process and the enjoyment of doing it.

The surface and drawing tools can be designed to fit any event space and the interface can also be tailored for other activities, such as writing, music and coordination games.  

If you are interested in incorporating Drawing Sound into your event please contact us at info@limbicproductions.com 

Educational Tool 

We are currently developing workshops that integrates Drawing Sound into educational settings and encourage pupils to explore their creativity to its fullest potential. For more information please email us on info@limbicproductions.com


3 groups of instruments divided by pitch: 1st group plays tonic G (across spectrum) – 2nd group Bb – 3rd group D.
Instruments: strings (dbass – cello – violas – violins), brass (french horn) & wind (english horn) with some variation in playing techniques (trem/pizz/trills…).
Rub surface with palm of hand -> Simultaneous trigger & control volume of 24 instrument samples (8 per pitch group).
Samples are randomly picked from a sample pool (130 samples). Also randomly set are: Volume min/max – envelope attack – Panning [+LFO].
Tapping -> will also randomise all above parameter but only 1 pitch group at a time.
Finally, a random harmonic progression can also be activated. Every time randomness is activated (via Rub or Tap), one pitch group will either move up or down the scale 1/2 tone (to a maximum of 1 tone), or stay put.
For example, the reference chord is Gm (G/Bb/D). If the first group (tonic) was to be randomise, that could become Gb/Bb/D or G#/Bb/D.