Re: Percussive dance sensors - request for any information

Tim David (
Wed, 02 Jun 1999 06:54:13 PDT

I'm afraid i'm going to be a bit vague but i have come across this concept
recently. There is a company in Britain that produces music works for public
place using using a form of pressure pad and a synthesiser program. I can't
racall their name at this moment but i'll try to find out.

>From: "Ross Allen" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: Percussive dance sensors - request for any information
>Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 20:08:36 +0100
>This is my first posting, I'd be very grateful for any assistance or for
>I run DanceAV, a percussive dance group (any form of dance where the
>component is sound, normally of feet on floor e.g tap, irish hard-shoe,
>appalachian clogging, step-dance traditions from canada, english clog,
>flamenco, kathak etc.) and would like to explore the possibilities of
>dancer's beats triggering samples etc.
>My ideal would be to develop a complete instrument - a floor based
>'drum-pad' large enough to be divided into zones much as the steel-pan
>used in steel-bands. Ideally this pad would provide position and velocity
>information for each impact to a system which would interpret these two
>factors and fire off the appropriate MIDI message in real-time. This
>'system' (application hosted on a notepad?) would allow sophisticated
>control over the placing of the zones and the parameterisation of the
>effect, e.g. increasing echo or changing the pitch as a boundary is
>approached. My limited reseach has suggested than this is not likely to be
>feasible but that is the concept!
>More realistically I can envisage a small number of robust sensors (perhaps
>those used in drum-pads) suitably protected feeding into a drum machine. I
>have no knowledge of the sensors required or their characteristics
>(including cost) so any information would be most welcome, as I am unsure
>to how I can proceed further.
>Particular questions:
>a) Has anyone done this already? They appeared to use a sequence of
>mats in 'Tap Dogs', each one triggering a single drum sample, leads for
>further info?
>b) There was a sequence at the end of the film 'Tap' starring Gregory Hinds
>where the sensors were built into the shoes and the sound was then altered
>at a sound-desk. Unfortunately, I believe this was just the magic of
>cinema, does anyone know?
>c) I've been told that the sensors in drum pads are binary (ie off or on
>when a certain threshold is reached), is this true? My problem is that
>percussive dance isn't this discrete...a limited number of levels would be
>fine but just on/off would be very limiting.
>d) Finally I've heard of an impact-sensitive peripheral for the Sony
>Playstation previewed at a Japanese trade-show for the home version of the
>Japanese arcade hit bust-a-move (basically follow the on-screen disco moves
>with your feet). Any more info?
>Thanks for your time!
>Ross Allen

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