Tangible Music: Prior Work

My group is working on a tangible music game for our project. We thought that it would be fairly novel, as the Sifteo cubes that we are using to control the game have not been out for very long. Like seemingly everything in else in HCI, it turns out people have been thinking about and creating similar projects for years.

A website by Martin Kaltenbrunner archives many of these tangible music projects, and even includes a page dedicated to “musical building blocks.” There are a number of inspiring projects on this page. One that I find a particularly good combination of physical and digital media is the Tangible Sequencer, a music composition tool that uses physical arrows on tangibles to indicate the sequence of digital sounds that will be played: just follow the arrows to know which cube will play next.

Another project is the Siftables Music Sequencer, created by Sifteo’s President David Meryll. Siftables shows the incredible potential of Sifteo cubes. The following video shows the siftables prototypes in action. It seems like the design does not have enough affordances for such a complex synthesizer, but it is still great inspiration for future projects.

Click to Watch Video

Looking at prior art is great inspiration for a project, and we are hoping to learn from these projects and others as we create our own tangible music game.

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