I have always had an attraction to music and its structure.
Drums always come first – High-hat that counts the tempo, kick drum drum that lays the beat down and the snare that snaps and brings the sharp staccato to the beat. Of course, after that comes the baseline, the guitar and then the harmony- synths keys, and anything else.
There are a lot of ways to bring music to life, the ingredients need balance, but the first thing they need is the tempo.
I have decided to have this as the concept for my final project in this course, an interactive audio/visual music box that is generated through physical tempo.
I plan to build a table filled with gears of different sizes. The user will be prompted to build his own composition with the gears, similar to a puzzle. When done, he can turn the main gear – thus moving all the gears in correlation to that main gear. Each gear holds a certain element of the composition – a drum, cymbal, baseline, keys, synths and more – and the user can choose weather he wants to add it to the recipe or not (editing a certain gears notes is an option too).
Each gear’s rotation speed will be measured by a rotary sensor that will play the gears part accordingly – all parts will be synced to the same master gear.
Another element for this project is the visual projection. From the top will be projected a visualization for each cog that is added by the user by projection mapping. The user could change samples and part through an interface incorporated in the project.
As Hadar and I broke down the ghost project into practical steps – we soon realized it will be an extensive project which emphasizes the craft side, therefore we went on another round of ideation.
‘Shadow Party’ – an interactive shadow play especially for Halloween. As the traditional shadow puppetry, ‘Shadow Party’ holds a main storyline – a friendly skeleton, returns from the world beyond to share one last dance with his living love (accompanied of course by a bunch of bats, talking pumpkins, and a spooky moon…)
The user is invited to control the dance movements and explore the surprising elements in the scene. As a prototype, we laser cut a skeleton figure and created moving joints, in order to explore the movement and shadows using servo motors and LED lights.
For the finished piece, we imagine a full scene behind a round screen, where every part is controlled by the user. There are some puppetry techniques we haven’t yet explored, this week will be dedicated to movement exploration and the magic of light and shadow.
In continuation of examination of the arduino’s inputs and outputs I’ve decided to pick a musical instrument to focus on in this weeks assignment.
The Xylophone is a musical instrument that I thought would be a good Idea to visualize – It already has a good feedback to it, its a percussion instrument!
The first step was to visualize the idea on pen and paper, sketching some ideas.
After getting a rough shape of the interactivity, I started modeling the first module on a CAD program – a wooden stripe inlaid with LED for each note.
The first functionality will indicate each note as its being hit.
The second functionality will pick a random note to be played following the note previously hit.
I started fabricating the stripe from wood, drilled and wired all the LED in their place.
I used Piezo microphones attached to each note to allow an analog input to the arduino, processing and sending signals to the LED’s.
I had some trial and error connecting the mic to the metal notes. In the beginning, i used blue tape to attach the parts, which wasn’t a good decision. the tape muted most of the sound of the note. I then used another tape which was better but the second one was conductive and short circuited the piezo mic. At last, I used two sided tape to attach the mics, the sound is better, yet not 100%, but its the best solution between the three, and the most elegant one.
I labled every input and output and connected each module to the arduino VIA a dedicated breadboard.
Luigi Russolo was part of the futurist movement that saw the beauty in the modern city and found amaze- ment in technology. In his manifesto, ‘the art of noise’, Luigi Russolo describes the breaking of the 12 tonal music structure that was the common until after the industrial revolution. He describes the modern orchestra (of his time in 1913) twenty ridiculous men slaving to increase the plaintive meeowing of violins, he contin- ues and describes the orchestra’s sounds as pitiful. Russolo wanted to introduce noise as a valid sound in the modern orchestra by utilizing machines that would make these sounds, rather than to imitate sounds with conventional music instruments – to bring into the creation of music the every day life and sounds of mod- ern living. He built machines that created rumbles, roars, whistles, hisses, gurgles, screeches, and crackles. I always saw him as the rst sound artist, utilizing sound as his main sculpturing material.
Varese, an accomplished piano composer, shared the same love for ‘tech’ and noise as Russolo, he saw all music as a series of organised noises. Varese, maybe as opposed to Russolo, wanted to add to the western 12 tone system a technological/electronical layer that will liberate it from its constraints. he wanted to add new timbers to the accustomed ear and introduce di erent ‘colors’ that western music then didn’t allow – sounds that we are well accustomed to in today’s modern music(EDM, IDM, POP or ROCK for that matter). Varese saw music and sounds as colors and objects. his masterpiece, poeme electronique, that was conceived for the Phillips pavilion for the 1958 world fair was an audio visual experience that was years ahead of its time.
As many others, Varese and Russolo saw progress and technology as their medium for creation. they both were early adopters of new techniques, embraced and led the change with the creation of recorded and per- formative music. All art utilizes some sort of technology for its creation, I see the futurist (Those who came after them in france – musique concrete) as the leading locomotive as the leading change in music in the last century.