[Moodbox] Project 4: Ma’s City of Voids


Leading up to the submission of our final model, we were tasked to create individual moodboxes that gave a visual representation of the sounds we produced as a group. The moodbox was meant to capture the ‘mood’ of the sound sample as a physical expression, displaying specific sections of interest, and showing how the positive volumes affect the negative voids, correlating to the spatial and textural qualities of the sounds and silences.


Final: Individual moodbox

Based on one of the sound compositions my groupmates and I created, the final moodbox is a depiction of both the structure of the composition’s soundwaves, as well as a representation of the adjectives used to describe the sounds used in the composition.


Sound Analysis

The moodbox is based off a sound composition my groupmates and I created. The instruments used were:

  • A glockenspiel
  • Rhythm sticks
  • A triangle

Since the three of us did not have extensive backgrounds in music, we decided to take another approach in creating a composition; instead of playing the instruments as how they are intended to be played, we used their physical structures to create sounds. The ‘ticking’ noise was a result of hitting the side (made out of plastic) of the glockenspiel with a stick, the ‘scraping’ noise from dragging a rhythm stick (made out of wood) across the rough surface of the studio table, and the ‘ding’ from hitting the triangle.

Soundwaves of composition

We also experimented with volumes by varying the levels of the ‘ticking’ and ‘scraping’ to establish clearer Dominant and Subdominant factors. Following a beat of 4 counts with the ‘scraping’ and ‘ding’ coming in at varying intervals, the composition resulted in the soundwave depicted above.

I. SOUNdwave interpretation

Inspired by the look of the soundwaves, I wanted to recreate the progression of the composition being soft in the beginning, louder in the centre, and soft again at the end, thereby establishing a ‘rippling’ effect. The moodbox is therefore circular to better establish the ‘rippling’ effect. This is further emphasised by the folds created by the felt and the radial display of the moodbox’s different elements.

Closeup of final moodbox
Variance in height in materials
Dispersion of voids, from minimal to maximum negative voids

Zooming further into the soundwaves, it is much more congested in the centre as opposed to the beginning and the end. To represent this, the elements of the moodbox is crammed in the centre and dispersed towards the ends, attempting to show variation in voids – minimised voids (minimal negative voids) in the centre and maximum voids toward the ends (maximum negative voids). This is further emphasised by layering netting in the centre. The frequencies in the soundwaves are also of varying heights. The highs and lows of the soundwaves were recreated in the moodbox by varying the heights of its different elements (as displayed by the cotton buds, safety pins, and needles).

II. ADjective interpretation
Moodbox Conceptualising

The moodbox is also a representation of the adjectives used to describe the composition.

After listening to the composition, I interpreted it as sounding quite sharp, heavy and rigid in nature, having an irregular pattern of both focused and dispersed sounds, with a touch of softness and fleetingness. The descriptions are represented by the following elements:

Adjective Sound Element Moodbox Structure
Sharp and sudden ‘Ding’ from triangle Use of needles in the centre
Heavy and rigid ‘Ticking’ Height of elements remaining at a low level
Irregular pattern ‘Scraping’ and ‘ding’ coming in at varying intervals Variation in materials
Focused and dispersed ‘Ticking’ and ‘scraping’ sound focused, ‘ding’ sounds dispersed Radial layout of elements
Soft and fleeting ‘Ding’ adds a touch of softness to the composition and sounds fleeting as it lingers Use of cotton buds

Creating the Moodbox

The moodbox is made with the following materials:

  • Cardboard; base
  • Felt; base
  • Transparent plastic; centre
  • Foam; centre
  • Laundry bag netting; centre
  • Needles; centre
  • Safety pin; centre
  • Tips of cotton buds; scattered around

The materials were put together mainly by pasting and piercing – namely, piercing the needles and safety pins through the foam and laundry netting.


I. Feedback & Improvements

The moodbox could have made a better impression if it was bigger in scale. Furthermore, a better choice of materials could have been used to represent the different elements of the composition.

II. Learning points
  • The rigidness nature of the ‘ticking’ can be recreated in the next model
  • The metallic nature of the ‘ding’ can be recreated in the next model as a finishing touch i.e. subordinate
  • The rhythmic pattern of the sounds can be explored in the next model

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