Zen sand backyard in a suitcase doubles as MIDI controller
September twenty third, 2022—
On the shallow finish of the pool, a MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) controller might be so simple as a handful of buttons that correspond to completely different notes. However whilst one wades into the deep finish of the pool, MIDI controllers are inclined to nonetheless appear like hunks of plastic with some knobs and keys. Redditor Gilou_ wished one thing that felt extra natural (truly, “inorganic” if we need to be technical) and they also constructed this uncommon MIDI controller that appears like a Japanese-style sand backyard in a suitcase.
Should you stumbled throughout this machine with none context, you’ll assume that’s precisely what it’s: some sort of moveable sand backyard. Opening the highest of the suitcase reveals a handful of darkish stones resting in a mattress of sand. Conventional rakes and scoops grasp in straps on the lid of the suitcase. However beneath the sand there are a couple of digital parts that flip the sound backyard right into a purposeful instrument. A piezoelectric pickup, like the type you’d see on some acoustic-electric guitars, within the sand interprets the vibrations of sand raking and sifting into an audio sign that feeds into a pc’s sound card.
The sound from the piezoelectric pickup may be attention-grabbing to a foley artist, however it wouldn’t be very musical by itself. To make this a helpful digital instrument, Gilou_ added an Arduino Micro board as a MIDI controller. The darkish stones are knobs that sit on potentiometers, which lets the musician regulate the sound of the sand because it performs by way of the pc. Every potentiometer controls a unique impact, corresponding to reverb or delay, that dramatically alters the sound of the sand. As an alternative of one thing that seems like a lapel mic rubbing on a shirt, the musician can create ambient music that’s fairly nice to listen to.