Vibrato
Plexiglas, Vellum, Tape, Microchip, QProx QT401 Slider Sensors, LED Lights, February 2006

We designed the Vibrato, a digital xylophone. It underwent two iterations. The first iteration had vertical keys arranged in triad, balance, and passing tones or accidentals to help novice musicians play improvised music. We arranged the keys so that the triad and major chords would be closer to the player, and the unappealing noise of sharps and flats were arranged further from the user. In arranging the keys like this, we lost range, so a user would have difficulty changing octaves. We used proximity sensors, specifically, QPROX-113. Worked in collaboration with James Sears, Preston Noon and Vincent Boyce.

We tried to accommodate suggestion and feedback, and focused on the guitar, a popular instrument used to play improvised music. We wanted our digital xylophone to have a vibrato effect to enhance perhaps a jam session or musical performance (accompanying DJ remixes. In order to solve a number of interface problems, we dramatically rearranged seven cylindrical Plexiglas tubes oriented like a xylophone, with each tube representing a pitch. The middle range of the tubes play a middle range, while the upper third will play an octave higher and the lower third will play an octave lower, allowing three full octaves of a scale to be easily played on seven keys. To enable this functionality along with integrated vibrato, we chose the QProx QT401 Slider Sensor. Worked in collaboration with James Sears.

© 1996-2011 Anne Hong