Alec Smecher has created a way to use the instrument in various combinations to form onscreen characters and letters.
Alec Smecher wanted to hone his drum skills and wondered if he could apply the dexterity he gets by spending his days typing to improve his drumming. He used a digital drum set, a midi to USB adapter, and a little bit of code to create a Midi Drum Keyboard that can input text into a program such as Open Office.
This helps to break associations and habits while drumming, and could also enable you to hide secret messages in your music. Smecher told Gizmag that he used various sources to come up with the drum combinations for the characters:
Foremost is Morse code: E and T are single-pad patterns, other infrequent ones like W, X, and Zare more complicated… Another source was QWERTY keyboard layout. For example, the spacebar is the kick pedal – right at the bottom of the keyboard. Backspace involves the top-right cymbal pad (with a kick pedal thrown in; backspace isn’t so commonly used as to deserve its own pad). A third source was sound puns. S, for example, is two cymbals at once; T is a single hit on the hi-hat.
Smecher will be showing the Midi Drum Keyboard at the East Side Culture Crawl in Vancouver next month. You can see it in action in the short video below: