Invisible Instrument: iPhone-based, gestural musical tool


“It’s like if a Fender and Guitar Hero had a baby” — Anonymous

What is it?

The Invisible Instrument — okay, so it’s not completely invisible — is an iPhone (or iPod touch) and Wiimote MIDI device.

The iPhone and the Wiimote pair via a computer over Bluetooth and uses the computer audio output as the sound source. The “instrument” is played via gesture recognition by software on your computer. You can use the built-in sounds or output MIDI to your preferred digital audio workstation (GarageBand, Logic, ProTools, Ableton Live)

By donating to this project, you are supporting the development of the software and iPhone app. Combined with your Wiimote and iPhone (or iPod touch), you’ve got yourself an all-in-one invisible instrument!

Who is it for?

Classical Musicians – For the classical musician wanting an intuitive way to transport their craft to the digital canvas or simply looking for a novel approach to their instrument, the invisible instrument opens a world of possibilities.

Electronic Musicians – For those electronic musicians more inclined towards granular synthesis, innovative live performance, or maybe just a new way to record music (aside from a midi keyboard), the software will allow for mapping of individual parameters as well as access to the raw data feed, if desired. I come from an electronic music background so I welcome any requests!

Kids and Family – For those people looking for a happy medium between spending thousands of dollars on expensive instruments that will only get used a handful of times or say RockBand (which is fun but hardly educational), learning to play the invisible instrument will allow for a safe arena for music discovery while building a foundation for music performance — the instruments are based on the  acoustic equivalent, after all.

Everyone – For non-musicians and musicians alike, the invisible instrument is a portable, inexpensive tool that can be utilized by itself as a musical instrument or in conjunction with other recording and performance software to expedite music creation! Help support the instrument revolution today!

List of Instruments

Designed – Drum Set, Violin, Cello, Bass, Keyboard, Guitar, Theremin, Conductor Baton (control tempo of your recordings!)

Planned – Wind/Brass Instruments, Harmonica, Harp, and any others that are suggested!


Why? The idea, the goal.

The goal of this project is to create an affordable, portable musical tool that bridges classical instrumentation to computer/electronic music.

Although I was classically trained in music, I also ventured into the computer music world at an early age. I noticed, though, there existed a sharp divide between the two fields. Many classical musicians I knew scoffed at the idea that a computer could produce a timbre that would even remotely compare to an acoustic instrument. Similarly, I have known computer musicians who regard classical music as an antiquated field. My thought? C’mon — it’s 2011, it’s about time we connected the two a little better.

Additional Links

For more demos:


Will there be a similar app using Android? As an Android user myself, I will more than likely be building an app for Android users.

What shows up on the computer screen? For traditional instruments, there is a natural physical feedback with each note: the vibration of the string, the buzz of the trumpet. Well the feedback for the invisible instrument is in visual form — you’ll see the instrument you’re playing and know what exactly you’re doing when you do each movement. (Which particular drum is being hit, what string you’re on). Granted, you can still use the instrument without it, but I imagine it will help when beginning to learn.

Project location: New York, NY