Interactive Devices – Research 2: Musical Instruments.

Unconventional Musical Instruments

So, Lets go back to the basis of music… What is music?

Music are basically sound organised in time.

so to break it apart, any thing that produce sound in a timely manner could produce music. right.

and if goes further, sound is vibrations through a medium like gas(Air), liquid(Water) or solid(Bones)

and if we reverse the broken parts back up, anything that vibrates in a timely manner could potentially generate music. YEAH~ a ruler could vibrate, so a ruler is a potentially musical instrument.

As with my previous research about motors, Stepper vibrate more than Servo, so a Stepper is a louder musical instrument than a Servo.

of course, they should not be this loud so they were placed on a table and the vibration will be transferred to the table and it will resonate which amplifies the volume of the sound as the table have larger surface area.

Old floppy disk reader contains motor inside, with programming, they could produce music too:


Musical box  instruments.

This is basically the introduction of a music box, I think Music boxes are wonderful instruments that seems really magical considering that they could play music almost automatically minus the winding part at around 200 years ago where electricity were not even used as modern context(not in the sense that Egypt used “Batteries” thousand of years ago.).


Remember the video which Prof Demers showed us during lesson, the Marble Machine by Martin Molin?Image result for marble machine

I was fascinated and really impressed with the amount of calculations, engineering and mechanical effort used to build just one of these machine. This is a manual musical instrument that the skill of the artist really contributed to the overall work of this piece, imagine if I were to play it, it will definitely not sound like the original.

And I will talk more about the inspiration or the predecessor of The Marble Machine, “The Eighth Wonder Of the World” which is an Orchestrion that incorporate 3 violins in it. This too, the engineering effort within it is astonishing!

The 3 violins were used due to the mechanical aspect of it, since violins have 3 strings, it would made more sense to use 3 violins one string each than to create a complex mechanism that play all 3 strings on one violin.


Futuristic spin on Traditional Instrument

The classic instruments are awesome with limitation, This is why people are programming advancement into classical instruments.

Lets take a the simplified evolution of piano starting with the oldest piano in existence(around 330 years old) for example.

Related image

after a lot of version and variations that sound slightly different and with some improvements and then came the Electric piano in late 1920(90+ years old) which is an electro-mechanical instrument.

Image result for Neo-Bechstein electric grand piano
Piano Eléctrico Wurlitzer, modelo 200A.

and then after many versions of improvements, the more recent evolution of the traditional piano is the roli seaboard rise which uses sensor which then produce sound electrically, the interfaces still follow the traditional piano, however the sound produce and the means of producing the sound was nothing like the piano any more.


In Conclusion

In these researches of unconventional instruments, music box and the evolution of old instruments, I could see that we could use anything which could produce sound to be the base of a musical instrument, We could revise a traditional instrument like roli seaboard rise, we could build a system that uses old unrelated objects and make them an instruments like the stepper motor music,  we could possibly use a system that plays existing musical instruments like “The Eighth Wonder Of the World

There are no right and wrong ways in making music, the only problem is is it audible?