The Cook/Morrill Trumpet
Augmenting the Expert Musical Performer

Perry Cook and Dexter Morrill

Constructed with Dexter Morrill of Colgate University, as part of an NEA grant to create an interface for trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the Cook/Morrill trumpet controller project led to a number of new interface devices, software systems, and musical works. Sensors on the valves, mouthpiece, and bell enabled fast and accurate pitch detection, and extended computer control for the trumpet detection. Trumpet players lie squarely in the "some player have spare bandwidth" category, so attaching a few extra switches and sliders around the valves proved very successful. The figure below shows the interface window.

Initially it was thought that a musically interested scheme would be to allow the brass player to use the switches to enter played notes into loops, and later trigger those loops. This proved a miserable failure, because of the mental concentration needed to keep track of which loop was where, what the loop contents were, syncing the recording, triggering, etc. Eventually a set of simple, nearly stateless interactions were devised. The switches were used to trigger pre-composed motifs, navigate forward and backward through sections, and capture pitch information from the horn, which was then used to seed fairly autonomous compositional algorithms.

Download Sketches for Invisible Man (Sax Version) By Dexter Morrill, Dave Dempsey, Soprano Sax

controllers | soundlab