Colin Sullivan 250b

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Giant Reverberant Object

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I thought the tri-spring-slingshot idea could work quite well.

The idea here is that there is some giant object that is very loud and people can throw things at it or play with things that are attached to it and bang against it. Pictured are a few ways to mount "balls" (I imagine rubber) to it so they can be used repeatedly without bouncing all over the room.

Pinball Shooter

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Some sort of pinball like shooting device where participants can fire balls at hanging/mounted resonant plates at different pitches. The balls then fall into a funnel and return to the shooter. Would probably be impractical unless contained in some sort of clear box with walls.

Gravity Pinball

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Balls are thrown in the top, they bounce off of hanging or mounted resonant bowls or plates, and then return to the front of the box so they can be dropped in again. The most important part would be that the bowls were pitched or rang well when struck by the balls. Contact microphone on a resonant plate on the back of the box?

Glockenspiel Hacking

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Upon thinking of bouncy-balls, I remembered these rubber jumper things that I used to love when I was a child. I remember being fascinated because I could not predict accurately when the things would "pop" up, it was slightly different each time.

Glockenspiel Sandwich

What if you let one loose between two glockenspiels? It would "strike" the glockenspiel on the bottom when it jumps up and then the one on the top when it rises.

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I can imagine some other configurations of hacked glockenspiel parts. Maybe some sort of circular arrangements overlapping one another vertically.

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If we could prepare many of them simultaneously and then drop them all into a system so they would all strike at about the same, I may lose a few hours of my life playing with it.

Copper Pipe Glockenspiel and Gravity Pinball

My favorite idea so far in terms of practicality and playfulness is to combine the glockenspiel hacking with the gravity pinball idea. Instead of having hanging or mounted bowls as pictured above, creating copper-pipes that are tuned appropriately. From a top-down view:

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If there were enough of these copper pipes, the balls would strike many of them on the way down. If I wanted to cover an octave of pitches, the shortest pipe would be 70% the length of the larger pipe:

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Not quite sure how to mount them, pictured is an idea with nails and rubber bands which could work, but could prevent balls from bouncing well.

Also pictured is an idea of having some plungers on the back to change the frequency of the pipes. Maybe these plungers could have notches in them to tune the pipes to desired pitches?

I think I will experiment this week with mounting techniques and pluging a pipe.

Idea: Change Perception of Ambient Sound

For a while I have had the idea of building a piece that questions ambient sound. My original idea for this piece is to have a booth full of speakers that are digitally modifying the ambient sound from outside. Thus, when a participant enters the booth they will be able to hear only the modified sound and when they step out they will only hear the ambient sound of the outside. I imagined having a control surface mounted in the center so the participant can change the parameters of the processed signal.

Here are a few more simple implementations that I can imagine that do not require a computer.

Comb-Filtering Ambient Sound Through Tubes

Here, each tube would be comb filtering the ambient sound coming out of a corresponding speaker. When the tube is risen off of the speaker the ambient sound would leak out and not enter the tube. Thus, many tubes could be constructed and tuned so when they are "activated" the corresponding pitch would be added to the ambient "chord".

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Here, the speakers and tubes are arranged in a circle with the tubes facing upwards. This may be weird because the sound I want participants to hear is coming up to the top of the tube. Maybe if this was upside-down facing the floor?


  • Microphone placement?
  • Tubes facing participants
  • Feedback detection needed? Maybe not with clever microphone placement.
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What about "playing" the tubes like keys?

Hearing Ambience Through Material

How about an area which the participant can listen to the ambient sound of the space through some material like a metal plate?

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Idea: Micro Into Macro

I have always been fascinated with "micro" sounds and how the musical tools I have grown up with allow me to so easily turn a "micro" sound into a prominant element in a sound pallete.

Simply Listening

What if a participant could simply listen to a few objects close up over headphones?

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Or if a bunch of objects were on a surface full of contact microphones? Maybe many contact microphones underneath the surface invisible to the participant but stereo panned to provide a more dramatic "magnification" of spatialization as well. Maybe everything is contained in a box and there are some elements with sand or liquid?

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