Visual Music Project – Part 1

At the beginning of 2014 I worked with my girlfriend on a Visual Music installation for one of her courses at the Institute for Music and Media in Düsseldorf.

In a few posts I want to describe the technical part of the project. Above you can see the first prototype made out of cardboard. But before we go into the depth of electronics and programming, here is a small introduction about the project itself written by the artistic brain behind the build.

In my music and media studies in Düsseldorf, Germany, ich visited a class called „visual music“. We planned an event and invited some DJs. Out special guest was „barnt“.
He visited us in our lesson and explained his music to us. Our task was to visualize his music for the event in two different ways. One thing was to visualize a still picture, which would be our individual bill to advertise for the event. All bills were collected in the end and the best one was voted by the course. The other thing was a visualization for the event room that has to be the same idea like shown on the bill. We were free to do everything.

For my feeling barnts music was build from certain elements that appear in disappear and therefore create a new atmosphere just by being placed in a slightly different timing. My first association: toy blocks!
Somehow I got the idea you see in the picture above. I build a prototype model and just hang some bands in it. I wrote down „visual music“ which is the name of my class. Now I was able to move the band up and down and was fascinated what kind of new characters accrue with just slightly moving. That was exactly what I imagined!

But I wanted more. I wanted automating: The bands needed to move without touching them. The plan was to get every band moving independently and there needed to be ten of them. So ten little motors were needed. For control an arduino was used and a little program we needed to script.
After a lot of work building a box out of wood, placing the ten motors precisely and getting the motors as synchronous as possible, it was done! The only thing left, was to write some action script loops, so the bands would just stop when I want them to.
Afterwards I wanted to implement sound analysis, so the bands would move with the music, unfortunately I had no time left for that. Maybe I will do it later.
In the end my project was outstanding and the core attraction of our event, of course beside of the DJs. Even my bill was selected to advertise for our „Visual Music Night“ in the whole city and the internet.

 Magdalena Sojka

Build the Music

The “Build the Music” Project took place during my studies at the University of applied sciences, Düsseldorf. Together with two fellow students I build an installation, that lets three participants take control of an instrument which sound and play style then can be changed via walking around in the space.

The positions are tracked via a RadarTouch sensor. The visual feedback is given by a floor projection. Video and audio is calculated by Max6 and send to the beamer and the speaker system.