Balron_40h is a Max/MSP patch I whipped up to interface the Monome 40h with the rest of my MIDI gear and software as a controller instrument.

The Monome’s main limitation as melodic controller is the number of interaction points per row: 8 pads versus the 12 keys we’re accustomed to in the Western scale. It makes a great rhythm grid, but you can’t squeeze accidentals in where there are no places to press.

Turning lemons into magical drinks is a prime creative activity, so I built Balron_40h to lay a multitude of 8-tone scales over the 8 x 8 grid. A side benefit: because the grid then uses a refined system of notes, everything automagically sounds good!

Utilizing 4 cell-shifting MIDI delays, repeating patterns and transposing chords can be created. The potential for discovering interesting progressions is high. Sending patterns of low notes into a monosynth can create instant acid basslines.

After a few days of using Balron_40h in serious song building, I’m amazed and surprised at what one hand can accomplish with such a densely packed controller: finger spans of over 8 octaves give acrobatic rolls and unexpected melodies from thin air. The tight pad layout imparts abilities closer to a guitar or Chapman stick than keyboard.

Version 1.0 is running well on both MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4 under Max/MSP 4.6.2.

Released, of course, under the QYBL-NC (Question Your Beliefs License – Non-Commercial): (228k, single Max/MSP patch version)