(Note: as the audio is live, there is a little bit of background noise in the video that I was unable to edit out)
‘Musical Stairs’ is a project that examines the role of music in our mundane lives. It was partly inspired by ‘Casse’ by Andreas Gysin and Sidi Vanetti, which effectively employs sound to add appeal to their simple projection.
An old habit of mine is tapping my fingers on a desk or flat surface in a manner that imitates playing the piano. It is a habit I thought I had grown out of, but only recently resurfaced due to my frustration with not having easy access to a piano. Clearly, I am not the only one who enjoys using this ‘musical instrument surrogacy’ in the event of having idle hands – I have seen enough people drumming on chairs and playing table keyboards to know this for certain. My projection attempts to manifest this concept of using an everyday object as a surrogate for a specific musical instrument. In addition, it redefines the image of a staircase by recontextualizing it into a musical situation. The way the program works is simple: when the user clicks on an point on the screen a white ball is spawned, which changes color and plays a note pertaining to the step it makes contact with.
A potential extension of this would be to project on a variety of small areas and attributing different objects to different instruments. It would be interesting to use this notion to create an ‘interesting symphony of boring objects’.
I fortunately did not run into many problems during this assignment. Initially, my program could not play more than 7 notes before going completely mute. I had no idea what the problem was until Dave pointed out that I was creating a new AudioPlayer object each time I needed to play a sound; it was then that I realized I was doing a really really bad thing. A non-programming-related issue that I ran into involved particularly rude CS majors on the 9th floor who seemed to make a effort to disrupt my recording (even though I explicitly told them that I was working on a project).
Also thanks to Swetha and Jun for helping me with the awkward projector handling!
Improvements to be made:
– attribute a special event to colliding notes
– make notes more visually interesting