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Custom Computer Controller

Conception, Creation:
John Toenjes

The inner workings still mounted on the outside for final testing. The circuit board is a MIDItron®.


The "VideoLyre" allows the “Vee-Jay” to mix the live video effects that are seen during the dance work Leonardo's Chimes, part of the Inventions Suite. The VideoLyre consists of strings mounted on a wooden frame that go through a base of wood to the workings inside the case.

Each string is connected inside the case to springs that keep tension, and to a length of conductive rubber stretch sensor through which a small voltage is sent from and back to a MIDItron®.

As the string is pulled up, the conductive rubber is stretched, causing a voltage drop along its length. This is translated by the MIDItron into MIDI commands that control the amount of effect on the video. Switches mounted on the case let the Vee-Jay choose which effects are activated at any one time, and to select adjustment parameters.

The intent of the VideoLyre is to expand the identity of the VJ from that of solely a mix artist, into one of onstage presence and "hand-dancer." Its form also blurs the distinction between musical instrument and technical video equipment, lending to the aesthetic of total integration of the arts.



More Information:

Although this instrument is made specifically for my puroses, I can do workshops and lecture demonstrations with your community or students on creating custom instruments for dance or theatrical music. Contact me to schedule a workshop or to consult on custom instrument creation.

To see and hear the VideoLyre,
view the dance Leonardo's Chimes VERSION 2 in the Dance Works area of this website.

Blog (not very active):
JT's Musings & Doings

John Toenjes

907 1/2 W Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801



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Copyright 2009 -- John Toenjes