Randall Chaves Camacho

Research Assistant


The life experiences of Costa Rican percussionist Randall Chaves Camacho in North and Central America inspired him to explore the diversity of genres and types of percussion playing; as well as the incorporation of technology, programming, and sound recording into performance. He joined the TaPIR lab to center his interests under the lab’s goal of researching, first, the engagement of classically trained musicians with technology in music, and second, the preservation of older works with technology. As part of TaPIR, he already has developed and performed with his personal Digital Musical Instrument using Arduino parts, as well as he has explored the use of movement in combination with the MUGIC sensor and MAX/MSP to enhance performances. In future research for the lab, he will focus on how to incorporate musical elements not associated with classical music as an introductory step to get musicians involved in exploring technology in music without the pressure of classical music standards.


Code Switch

Code Switch (2023) by Randall Chaves Camacho

In linguistics, code switching refers to when an individual combines multiple languages in a single conversation. According to the research, individuals who speak two or more languages most often code switch inadvertently, but it can also happen due to lexical needs, to fit into social groups, and to communicate privately. Code Switch was inspired by my experiences in North America as a bilingual individual (Spanish-English). In the piece, I aim to sonically represent that instance when, while comfortably speaking in one language, suddenly I enter a state of mental chaos as the right words to finish my thought come to mind in the other language I speak. In Code Switch, this calm-chaos mental state is sonically represented by the juxtaposition of calm and chaotic sounds. Furthermore, while the chaotic sections represent the internal struggles of individuals who code switch, the calm sections aim to musically represent different motives why individuals use code switching: for lexical need, to say something in secret, to quote someone, and to belong to a social group. Lastly, the sonic elements in Code Switch are accompanied by Tato Laviera’s poem, my graduation speech, that controls the electronic component of the piece. I am using the Web Speech API to convert my narration into text. The data from the API is then sent to a NodeJS script in MAX for Live via WebSocket. This data is later processed in the Max for Live patch allowing me to control a session in Ableton’s Live.

my graduation speech by Tato Laviera

i think in spanish
i write in english

i want to go back to puerto rico,
but i wonder if my kink could live
in ponce, mayagüez and carolina

tengo las venas aculturadas
escribo en spanglish
abraham in español
abraham in english
tato in spanish
“taro” in english
tonto in both languages

how are you?
¿cómo estás?
i don’t know if i’m coming
or si me fui ya

si me dicen barranquitas, yo reply,
“¿con qué se come eso?”
si me dicen caviar, i digo,
“a new pair of converse sneakers.”

ahí supe que estoy jodío
ahí supe que estamos jodíos

english or spanish
spanish or english
now, dig this:

hablo lo inglés matao
hablo lo español matao
no sé leer ninguno bien

so it is, spanglish to matao
what i digo
¡ay, virgen, yo no sé hablar!


MadLib is an electro-acoustic piece for open instrumentation with live electronics created using Max software. It was commissioned by Jonny Smith in 2021 from composer Louis Pino. The concept of this work was to create a piece that can be customized by the performer in a variety of ways thereby giving the performer greater creative agency and allowing for a wide array of potential musical outcomes. The concept of the piece is inspired by the word game, Mad Libs. In the game, the reader or group of readers is asked to think of and write down random words. These words are then used to fill in the blanks of a prewritten story, usually for comic effect. A core aspect of the piece is the performer uploading their own audio samples to then be manipulated by the patch in some preset and some personally customizable processes.

A study was held from October 4th to November 6th 2022, involving various TaPIR researchers learning, experimenting with, and recording their own versions of the piece. The goal of this experiment was to analyze how performers chose to perform and interact with the electronic accompaniment, and to evaluate the piece as a creative practical tool to aid in learning the Max software. MadLib premiered in April 2022 at The Space Between conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Both Smith and Pino performed their own versions of the piece in order to demonstrate how the piece can be shaped in a variety of ways by different performers.

Group Projects




For Mari’s MUGIC workshop, Randall created a piece using MUGIC attached to a maraca. The MUGIC captured the maraca’s movement and controlled various musical parameters using Max for Live.


Click here for more information on TaPIR Lab’s MUGIC workshop with Mari Kimura


Randall added two extra buttons onto the breadboard in order to expand the range of possible pitch/rhythm combinations. These two extra buttons control the pitch combinations, while the other four buttons correspond to pitch material. His performance was a structured improvisation that revolved around consistent rhythmic motion.