Sequen-Shell

Keywords:

Intergrated Audio Design

interaction with music

design for play

design for children

Together with several fellow students and STEIM, Amsterdam's Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music, I created a concept for a musical playground for children. The playground allows them to experiment with composing and recording music in an intuitive way, using their own voice in combination will all sorts of sound effects. The final product of this project was a video that demonstrates our concept.


Sequencers

Traditionally, making music relies on properly developed motoric skills for rhythm and timing. This can be difficult for younger children.

To make our concept accessible for children we wanted them to be able to create rhythm and timing without having to rely on their motoric skills. Sequencers, a commonly used tool to make digital music, allow musicians to do just that.

Therefore we decided that our installation should be a giant sequencer, with a twist.

A typical sequencer

The musical playground

The musical playground would consist of a big circle with a rotating dial on the floor, together with a collection of unique objects each containing a different sound. When placed on the circle, the object would play its sound when the dial reaches it. The objects are shaped like shells, varying in size and material. We chose this metaphor, because seashells appear to contain a sound when held closely to your ear.

The playground with a collection of different musical seashells

Recording and replaying

To add another dimension, children can also record new sounds by picking up a shell and speaking into it. Once recorded the shell will play the new sound, distorded to match the characteristics of the shell's size and material, when placed on the circle.

Recording and playing back through one of the seashells
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