The Laser Harp is a light-sensitive musical instrument. It is played by moving hands over laser light sources in order to send MIDI commands when a beam is interrupted. These commands can be sent to different electronic devices such as synthesizers, samplers, controllers and other.
The first Laser Harp was invented and played by Bernard SZAJNER in 1981, and Jean Michel JARRE (a French composer, performer and music producer) has been using it since then.
In 2005, Franck MORISSEAU (an electronic engineer) launched a new laser harp project using the ILDA interface, and successfully developed a new MIDI electronic module to switch dynamically the color beams (RGB) and to sense the hand height while playing music.
Laurent BERTH (a firmware/software engineer) met Franck MORISSEAU in 2008 and the team has since developed a version 2 of this laser harp. They both promote free information-sharing about Laser Harp projects allowing everyone to build his/her own user-friendly laser instrument.
Laurent MAILLET (also a software engineer) met us in 2013 and has developed the Laser Harp Remote Controller (LHRC) in Java language available for the most common platforms (PC, Mac and Linux).
Laser harp features
Fully stand alone system (no computer required) with quick MIDI response : Perfect for musicians and live events
No expensive laser control software and hardware interface required
Full color ILDA connector to use with standard laser projector.
Multiple sensors for open or close frame mode.
The latest sensor works with ambiant light and sense the hand height allowing to modify the Pitch Bend, up to 3 Control Changes...
Easy Note programmation by MIDI controller or by listening a played MIDI file
Each beam (1 to 20 beams harp) can learn and play 5 notes simultaneously (chord) with aftertouch.
Visual effects like the "vibrating string" and the beam color change delay 400ms after the note is played.
Laser beams can be modulated or not modulated with color toggle for played note.
MIDI Input and Output for synthesizers or samplers (toggle the pattern-parts).
Free software remote control working on tablet to manage, update, backup, merge, and to share your data memory (for PC/Mac/Linux).
Bootloader to easily update the firmware by using the remote controller software.
Mini USB connector (Bluetooth wireless is in development) to update the firmware and to use the remote control software.
Velocity (range from 0 to 127) and Channel (range from 1 to 16) adjustable.
20 characters 4 lines backlighted LCD and 3 illuminated buttons.
Optional remote LCD to show useful information near the musician (future development).
The color of each beam can be choosen for note ON & OFF (switch dynamically the color).
Memory of 20 tracks - 20 beams - 5 notes by beam.
Memory of 10 playlists - 40 tracks - for automatic switch track (send bank to synthesizer), perfect for concert :)
Remote control with 4 illuminated positions footswitch for opening/closing frame, switching track/bank and swithing octave +/- (x3).
MIDI thru, emits a copy of everything received at the input port.
MIDI SysEx MMC Play for the opening and MMC Stop for the closing of the beams frame allowing MIDI remote control.
MIDI program change for the opening (Cn 7E) and the closing (Cn 7F) of the beams frame.
Working in stand alone mode as a learning instrument. No computer or transpose function is required
"Playback" function to learn your song quickly and easily. You play the note on synth and the right beam is activated.
Designed with musicians for the musicians.
Other improvements to come...
Shows and performances
Madis - Moondust (Laser Harp Live Performance)
Time Composer at Eglise de la Madeleine in Paris - France
Laser Harp Controller explained...
Time Composer's new instrument using our technology