Tag Archives: music

Tableau: a generative music album based on the Sense HAT

via Raspberry Pi

Multi-talented maker Giorgio Sancristoforo has used a Raspberry Pi and Sense HAT to create Tableau, a generative music album. It’s an innovative idea: the music constantly evolves as it reacts to environmental stimuli like atmospheric pressure, humidity, and temperature.

Tableau Generative Album

“There is no doubt that, as music is removed by the phonographrecord from the realm of live production and from the imperative of artistic activity and becomes petrified, it absorbs into itself, in this process of petrification, the very life that would otherwise vanish.”

Creating generative music

“I’ve been dreaming about using portable microcomputers to create a generative music album,” explains Giorgio. “Now my dream is finally a reality: this is my first portable generative LP (PGLP)”. Tableau uses both a Raspberry Pi 2 and a Sense HAT: the HAT provides the data for the album’s musical evolution via its range of onboard sensors.

Image of Tableau generative music device with Sense HAT illuminated

Photo credit: Giorgio Sancristoforo

The Sense HAT was originally designed for use aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the ongoing Astro Pi challenge. It has, however, become a staple within the Raspberry Pi maker community. This is partly thanks to the myriad of possibilities offered by its five onboard sensors, five-button joystick, and 8 × 8 LED matrix.

Image of Tableau generative music device with Sense HAT illuminated

Photo credit: Giorgio Sancristoforo

Limited edition

The final release of Tableau consists of a limited edition of fifty PGLPs: each is set up to begin playing immediately power is connected, and the music will continue to evolve indefinitely. “Instead of being reproduced as on a CD or in an MP3 file, the music is spontaneously generated and arranged while you are listening to it,” Giorgio explains on his website. “It never sounds the same. Tableau creates an almost endless number of mixes of the LP (4 × 12 factorial). Each time you will listen, the music will be different, and it will keep on evolving until you switch the power off.”

Image of Tableau generative music device with Sense HAT illuminated

Photo credit: Giorgio Sancristoforo

Experiment with the Sense HAT

What really interests us is how the sound of Tableau might alter in different locations. Would it sound different in Cambridge as opposed to the deserts of Mexico? What about Antarctica versus the ISS?

If Giorgio’s project has piqued your interest, why not try using our free data logging resource for the Sense HAT? You can use it to collect information from the HAT’s onboard sensors and create your own projects. How about collecting data over a year, and transforming this into your own works of art?

Even if you don’t have access to the Sense HAT, you can experience it via the Sense HAT desktop emulator. This is a great solution if you want to work on Sense HAT-based projects in the classroom, as it reduces the amount of hardware you need.

If you’ve already built a project using the Sense HAT, make sure to share it in the comments below. We would love to see what you have been making!

 

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Tough Pi-ano

via Raspberry Pi

The Tough Pi-ano needs to live up to its name as a rugged, resilient instrument for a very good reason: kids.

Tough Pi-ano

Brian ’24 Hour Engineer’ McEvoy made the Tough Pi-ano as a gift to his aunt and uncle, for use in their centre for children with learning and developmental disabilities such as autism and Down’s syndrome. This easily accessible device uses heavy-duty arcade buttons and has a smooth, solid wood body with no sharp corners.

24 Hour Engineer Presents the Tough Pi-ano

24 Hour Engineer is a channel to showcase the things I’ve built. Instructions for the Tough Pi-ano can be found at my website, 24HourEngineer.com and searcing for “Tough Pi-ano.” http://www.24hourengineer.com/search?q=%22Tough+PiAno%22&max-results=20&by-date=true

The Pi-ano has four octaves of buttons, each controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero. Each Zero is connected to a homebrew resistor board; this board, in turn, is connected to the switches that control the arcade buttons.

Tough Pi-ano

The Tough Pi-ano is designed specifically for musical therapy, so it has a clean and uncomplicated design. It has none of the switches and sliders you’d usually expect to find on an electronic keyboard.

Tough Pi-ano

The simple body, with its resilient keys, allows the Tough Pi-ano to stand up to lots of vigorous playing and forceful treatment, providing an excellent resource for the centre.

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The Visual Theremin

via Raspberry Pi

The theremin.

To some, it’s the instrument that reminds us of one of popular culture’s most famous theme songs. To others, it’s the confusing flailing of arms to create music. And to others still, it sounds like a medicine or a small rodent.

Theremin plays the theremin

“Honey, can you pass me a tube of Theremin? The theremin bit me and I think it might be infected.”

In order to help their visitors better understand the origin of the theremin, Australia’s MAAS Powerhouse Museum built an interactive exhibit, allowing visitors to get their hands on, or rather get their hands a few inches above, this unique instrument.

MAAS Powerhouse Theremin Raspberry Pi

As advocates of learning by doing, the team didn’t simply want to let their museumgoers hear the theremin. They wanted them to see it too. So to accomplish this task, they chose a BitScope Blade Uno, along with a Raspberry Pi, BitScope, and LCD monitor.

MAAS Theremin Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi and BitScope are left on display so visitors may better understand how the exhibit works.

BitScope go into a deeper explanation of how the entire exhibit fits together on their website:

The Raspberry Pi, powered and mounted on the BitScope Blade Uno, provided the computing platform to drive the display (via HDMI), and it also ran the BitScope application.

The BitScope itself, also mounted on the Blade, was connected (via USB) to the Raspberry Pi and powered by the Blade.

The theremin output was connected via splitters (so they could also be connected to a sound amplifier) and BNC terminated coaxial cables to the analogue inputs via a BitScope probe adapter.

We’d love to see a video of the MAAS theremin in action so if you’re reading this, MAAS, please send us a video. Until then, have this:

Sheldon’s Theremin

Sheldon playing the star trek soundtrack on his theremin

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The Nest: hidden music atop Table Mountain

via Raspberry Pi

Located at the lookout at the summit of Table Mountain’s Kloof Corner hiking route, The Nest was a beautifully crafted replica of a rock that sat snugly alongside the trail. It would have been easy to pass it without noticing the enhancements: the USB port, headphone socket, and microphone. After all, what would such things be doing by a mountain trail in Cape Town, South Africa?

bateleur the nest

However, if you were a follower of interesting tech builds or independent music, or a member of the Geocaching community (it’s highly likely that the project was inspired in part by Geocaching), you may have been aware of The Nest as a unique way of sharing the self-titled debut LP from South African band, Bateleur.

Bateleur

Yes, this may seem like something of a publicity stunt. A cheaper version of U2 forcing their album onto every iPhone simply to ‘get through the noise’ and make sure their music was heard. But listen to Bateleur’s LP and I’ll guarantee that there’s no place you’d rather be than sat atop a mountain with the fresh air and beautiful vista before you.

Kloof Corner Cape Town

Image courtesy of trailing ahead

In my opinion, this build was not so much a publicity stunt as a public service.

Once The Nest was discovered, two whistles would act as a trigger to switch on the Raspberry Pi heart within the semi-translucent faux rock, and a light show, previously hidden from view, would begin to play. A pulsing ring of green lights would indicate when the device was ready for you to insert a USB drive and retrieve the album, while a rainbow pattern would let you know when the download was complete.

You could then either continue on your merry way or take the time to sit back and enjoy the view.

Now you may wonder why I have written this blog post in the past tense, given how recently The Nest was installed. Quite simply put, someone felt the need to vandalise and destroy it. Why? Your guess is as good as ours.

However short-lived The Nest project may have been, I’d like to thank Bateleur for their build. And if you’d like to see the creation of The Nest, here’s a wonderful video. Enjoy.

Bateleur : The Nest

To release their self-titled debut LP, Bateleur created The Nest. All you need to do is plug in. And climb a mountain. For more information visit bateleur.xyz __ Credits: All footage, editing & colour grading by Nick Burton-Moore. Hiker: Anine Kirsten Concept by Bateleur Music: Bateleur – Over (Again)

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These boxes make music out of metal and wood

via Arduino Blog

mechbox

Les Boites Mécaniques are a set of four automated boxes that produce music out of wood and metal. These experimental instruments enable anyone to explore the magic of making sound by pressing buttons on a remote, which activate each respective device to vibrate, knock, and rub materials.

The boxes were developed by Kogumi‘s Anatole Buttin and Yan Godat for educational electronic music workshops, and can be played either solo or in unison. There’s even a mode that allows users to control it all via MIDI notes on a computer.

In terms of hardware, each box is equipped with an Arduino Uno, a TLC59711 LED driver, step motors with AccelStepper library and a 3D-printed microstep driver.

Watch the video below to see how it all comes together to create a unique sound!

RecordShelf – vinyl selection lightshow spectacular

via Raspberry Pi

Mike Smith wanted to be able to locate specific records in his collection with ease, so he turned to a Raspberry Pi for assistance.

A web server running on the Pi catalogues his vast vinyl collection. Upon selecting a specific record, the appropriate shelf lights up, followed by a single NeoPixel highlighting the record’s location.

recordShelf demo 2

recordShelf helps organize and visualize dat about your record collection. This is my second video demonstrating it’s latest form.

The lights are controlled with Adafruit’s FadeCandy, a dithering USB controller driver with its own software that allows for easier direction of a NeoPixel. It also puts on a pretty nifty light show.

Records can be selected via artist, title, record label, a unique index number, or even vinyl colour. This also allowed for Mike to select all records in a specific category and highlight them at once; how many records by a specific artist or label, for example.

RecordShelf

Further down the line, Mike is also planning on RFID support, allowing him to scan a record and have the appropriate shelf light up to indicate where it should be stored. Keep up to date with the build via the project’s Hackaday.io page.

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