Mapping tools for digital musical instruments

Participants: Joseph Malloch
Stephen Sinclair
Marcelo M. Wanderley

A screenshot of the mapping graphical interface in use
Funding: FQRSC (Digital Orchestra)
NSERC / CCA (Spatialization)

Project Type: Software development.

Time Period: 2006–present Status: ongoing.

Project Description

The mapping tools provide a framework designed to aid collaborative development of a digital musical instrument mapping layer. The goal was to create a system that allows mapping between controller and sound parameters without requiring a high level of technical knowledge, and which needs minimal manual intervention for tasks such as configuring the network and assigning identifiers to devices. Ease of implementation was also considered, to encourage future developers of devices to adopt a compatible protocol.

System development included the design of a decentralized network for the management of peer-to-peer data connections using Open Sound Control. Example implementations were constructed using several different programming languages and environments. A graphical user interface for dynamically creating, modifying, and destroying mapping connections between control data streams and synthesis parameters was also constructed.


  • libmapper - An implementation of the protocol in C that can be embedded in applications.
  • digital orchestra toolbox - A collection of MaxMSP objects and abstractions for gesture porcessing and mapping.
  • webmapper - An HTML5-based graphical interface to libmapper.
  • mapperRec - A mapper-compatible data-recording program.