Merry Go Sound

Merry Go Sound is a playful interactive music box, inspired by old-school crank operated music boxes.

Using wooden discs with spokes in different configurations, one can place and remove them on 1 of 8 spinning shafts to generate different sounds and combine them in different ways. A sensor sits under each disc, monitoring its ‘on’ or ‘off’ state — similar to the way a CD works. Each disc is essentially a visual representation of a rhythm, and each shaft has a fixed sound associated with it.

The discs have a square hole to fit onto the peg that is attached to the shaft — allowing one to rotate the disc 90 degrees to change the phase at which it plays. This interaction was inspired by Terry Riley's musical piece In C, which consists of 53 short musical phrases and directions for how they should be played. One of these directions is that players need not synchronize the start of a phrase with the start of a bar — since each phrase is intended to be played continuously in a loop, this phase-shifting leads to interesting emerging combinations of sounds.

Detailed documentation on the process can be found here.

Tools: Arduino, node.js, tone.js Exhibited at: ITP Winter show, 2018