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The Virtual Air Guitar - all you need is a rock'n'roll attitude


November 30, 2005

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December 1, 2005 As computers learn how to enhance and augment every form of human endeavour, it was only a matter of time before talentless, uncoordinated individuals such as your humble writer could indulge their musical ambitions and produce sounds to match those in their dreams - and the Virtual Air Guitar project appears to be well on the way to setting would-be musicians free, without the need for even an instrument.

Playing the Virtual Air Guitar is simple. You pull on a pair of orange gloves (for the image tracking to recognise what your hands are doing), press the start pedal, and swing your right hand as if you were strumming a big chord and that's exactly what happens - you hear a power chord with punchy distortion. Now move your left hand along the imaginary neck and strum again - it's a different chord.

You can't play any "wrong" chords here - they have been pre-selected for you. When you're ready, press the switch pedal to change from chord mode to solo mode and you suddenly have a pentatonic minor scale on the three top strings, with fret slides and vibrato. Play hard enough with feeling, and you start getting screaming distortions. It's easy enough that you can pick it up in ten seconds, but especially the solo mode has just enough freedom for every solo to be different. You don't really need to know anything about guitar solos, except for how rock guitarists perform on stage.

The goal of the project is to provide people without musical skills the chance to experience the fun of playing and creating music, and to expand their concept of music from listening to fully experiencing its creation.

The Virtual Air Guitar Project can be found here.

Other virtual guitar projects we’ve written about include:

Guitar Hero Game expected to be an instant best-seller

Have your guitar teach you how to play

Pushing the bleeding edge of music production and performance

V-Pick Virtual Guitar offers hope to air guitarists

Via Engadget

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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