Small Musically Expressive Laptop Toolkit
Rebecca Fiebrink and Ge Wang
And now smeltier with code by Dan Trueman!

SMELT is an open-source toolkit to facilitate rapid development of and experimentation with expressive musical interfaces built on the laptop's native physical input capabilities (e.g., keyboard, mouse, motion sensing, microphone). It's implemented in C and ChucK, and based much on our work with PLOrk. To further articulate our vision, Perry has composed the following haiku:

i go for haptics.
if you heard it, i SMELT it.
seeing is good too.


NIME 2007 paper (pdf)
("Don't Forget the Laptop: Using Native Input Capabilities for Expressive Musical Control")


smelt 1.0 (zip) | wallpaper
(thanks to Matt Howard for the background image)

Get ChucK!
(free! cross-platform! money-back guarantee!)

Also see

Smirk: The Small Music Information Retrieval Toolkit: Classification framework for chuck


(some examples require chuck- release)

  • keyboard: ASCII-based and fretboard-based mapping for pitch selection and other tasks.
    • code:
      • basic keyboard input (no sound)
      • ASCII-based mapping
      • fretboard-like mapping
      • creates an array of key codes (no sound)
      • uses key array to accomplish fretboard-like mapping, with tunable "strings"
      • Tuneable fretboard with polyphony and variable note lengths! oh my!
    • examples (see code comments for instructions):

  • trackpad: mouse and trackpad "bowing"
    • code:
      • basic mouse/trackpad input (no sound)
      • raw trackpad input mapped to sound
      • trackpad input with conditioning
    • example:

  • smack sensor (requires SMS-enabled apple laptops + chuck-
    • code:
      • motion-sense.c: basic motion sensing in C (no sound)
      • smack-sense.c: smack sensing in C (no sound)
      • basic motion sensing in ChucK (no sound)
      • SMS-controlled formant filters
      • smack sensing (no sound)
      • smack sensing -> sound
    • example:

  • microphone: using the mic as control

SMELT is brought to you by Rebecca and Ge,
with Matt Hoffman, Spencer Salazar, and Perry Cook.

plork | chuck | soundlab | cs | music