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Wireless Carillon Project

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

For the past few days, I’ve been preparing a wireless carillon that will hang on our Christmas tree this year. The carillon is a set of 9 brass bells, which can play different tunes. It is connected to an Arduino micro-controller that controls the bells. The Arduino receives messages from my desktop computer via an […]

The mark of the unicorn

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted, but hopefully, there are still one or two of you out there who understand the value of a good RSS feed. I’m back to write about a book I’m enjoying, with the following cryptic title: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 If this line of BASIC code […]

Musical Chess

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

You’re looking at a hybrid music/chess system that I’ve created, in preparation for a concert of new and experimental music in late June. The chessboard on the left (a Novag Citrine) is wired to the computer via a serial/USB cable. When people play on the chessboard, the computer monitors their moves, and attempts to figure […]

Whitney Music Box simulation

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The music box disc I’m getting prepared, mentioned in the previous post, looks something like this. Here’s a simulation of what it would sound like, played on an antique Stella music box, assuming the box’s spring-wound mechanism has the strength to play the first chord, in which every tine sounds at the same time. It […]

HensTooth Discs

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Composing for Mechanical Instruments

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Oh, I’ve been bitten by this mechanical music bug big time. I’m now working on composing some new music for an orchestrion. This will be no mere weekend-long project (as most of mine tend to be), and hopefully I can share some audio snippets with you as work progresses. I imagine most of you don’t […]

Violano Virtuoso in Sylmar

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Today, on the spur of the moment, I decided to visit the Nethercutt museum in Sylmar, which I had heard about a couple of years ago when I was researching automatic music instruments. The museum, an unexpected display of wealth that sits on the corner of an industrial park in an economically depressed area — […]

Wheel Music

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Wheel Music is another music visualization, using similar techniques to those I used in my Whitney Music Box. Each dot in the animation represents an individual note you are hearing. The notes are slowly traveling around in a circle. Each square represents a different tone cluster, or chord. Colors represent note values, and the radius […]

The Ascent – A Wooden Clock Kit

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

In the last two months, I’ve become fascinated with clocks and automatons. My family never owned a mechanical clock, but I had an aunt with a musical cuckoo clock, and a grandfather clock that showed the phases of the moon. I wondered what made the pendulum keep swinging (was it magnets or batteries?), and what […]

Whirligigs for the New Year

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Some people begin the new year by pledging to lose weight or quit smoking. My usual pattern is to try to find two or three new obsessions each year. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that these obsessions find me! This last year, those obsessions included digital photography, photo mosaics and logic puzzles. After 20 […]