Suggestions for interactive sound art

I’ve primarily been a musician but the last few years have developed an interest in coding, installations, and interactives. I was commissioned by a museum to make a playable sound environment in MAX that is controlled by 8 faders. Guest use the faders to explore the sound environment (mixing between sounds, changing lfos, reverb levels, etc), and consider how the piece makes them feel.

I’ve got my head wrapped around most of the technical stuff. I’m looking for suggestions on reading, videos, anecdotes, etc about instrument design & user interface, particularly for non-musicians & the general public. I’m a little more interested in the abstract/philosophical, but would also love to know your favorite examples.

Thanks for humoring my incredibly vague, but also specific question.


Please allow the guests to control the overall sound volume if the experience uses headphones. While I enjoy sound art in exhibitions I visit, I often find the headphones to be too loud for my enjoyment. Thank you.


A few initial suggestions/thoughts based on past installations I’ve done:

If your timeline allows for it, run the system at your studio for a week or two straight before installing it at the museum. Test it periodically throughout the day.

Set up scheduled boot up (with the Max app starting at boot up) and shutdown on the computer based on the museum’s open hours and event schedule. I can dig up links for this (Mac or PC) if you aren’t familiar with the process.

Write up a small troubleshooting document for the museum staff for maintenance, and to hopefully keep them for calling you every time a school field trip of students finds a way to crash the system. Kids are great smoke testers, btw.

Have fun!


I’d definitely be interested in this!


Here are a few links. The first two are for Windows systems and relatively up to date. I’ve used these basic blueprints for a number of installations. The third link is for Mac, but I’m not sure how it covers recent Apple OS updates, but it’s a good place to start.