HOW TO build a Silent Drum

The Silent Drum: A Tutorial

In this series of posts I will try to explain in as much detail as possible how to build a Silent Drum. The Silent Drum is an open source instrument and the code for pix_drum is released under the GPL license.

This instrument is developed in the Pd or Pure Data and GEM environments. Links to software that is needed are provided along the tutorial.

All patches and code are designed to work “out of the box” provided you have a copy of Pd and drivers for your camera, without you having to compile the objects. Currently, the only platforms supported are intel macs, os x 10.4 or higher and Linux 86_64 (64 bit).

pix_drum is now part of GEM’s extra library, so downloading the current gem will also get you the sources and compiled objects. If you are on Windows, you should be able to get it to work by following Epic Jefferson’s advice. Menno Van der Woude reports developing an OpenFrameworks version.

I run these patches in a 2.1ghz linux box, but have also made them work in a 2.1ghz intel mac. In both cases running the camera at 75fps. Similar machines should make it…

Finally, you must be aware that I am in no way responsible for anything that might go wrong on the way (like if something doesn’t work, you cut your finger, etc.). I will be happy however to hear suggestions and to help whenever possible. Use at your own risk; and pleasure …

Hardware: Parts List.

Hardware: Building.

Software: Tracking.

Software: Mapping Sounds.

Performance Strategies.

Compositions for the Silent Drum.

download the source code and patches for pix_drum. documentation is on the works | bájate el código patches para pix_drum. documentación en proceso.

Click on images in the tutorial to enlarge…

2 thoughts on “HOW TO build a Silent Drum

  1. admin Post author

    Hi Sanj, There isn’t but you can download the patches around this site and see how I did it. For example, you can download the patch for the piece 3 environments ( and see how it is mapped. In the end, mapping is the heart of the design and I’d say composition problem. best, J

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