Friday, January 12, 2018

2 Videos- Ben Balas

Hey all! I have a couple videos to share with you this week. The first is from a club I am involved with, called Project Music. The mission of this club is to design and build experimental musical instruments, like our current project, a bicycle-powered Hurdy-Gurdy. The video I am showing you is from last year's project, an electric violin. Built out of acrylic, the effects are processed onboard using a raspberry pi. There is also a gyroscopic sensor that controls the amount of distortion applied, based on the angle the violinist is playing at.

The second video is from a "silent rave" where each participant is given a set of wireless headphones, and they are able to change the music they are hearing to different genres. The actual room is mostly quiet, because there is no music playing in the room. I'm not especially interested in throwing a silent rave in the Davis studio, but I am really interested in exploring the concept that everyone in the room is hearing a different thing, and goes home with a completely different experience of the event. Here's the video:


  1. This violin can make some terrifying sounds. Are the color-changes arbitrarily timed or are they also correlated with musical elements? The gyroscope is an awesome addition too.

    This is a very interesting concept to me. On one hand, this seems really cool because everybody is hearing the exact same thing rather than a particular version of the event based on their placement within the venue. This would make it a more egalitarian experience and perhaps reduce people's desire to be in a specific part of the crowd. I do wonder, though, if this would actually diminish the communal experience for me because it seems oddly isolating. Worth a shot though :)

  2. Wow, how many people worked on this and how long did it take? It must have taken a lot of trial and error with 3D printing in order to produce that violin. I have never used raspberry pi, but I've heard it is like arduino with more capabilities and that is something I would like to explore.

    I saw one of these silent discos at Movement festival a few years ago. It's a cool concept, but one of my favorite things about going to shows is being able to share a really special experience with hundreds of people, so I think I would feel more detached from people if I were to take part in this myself.

  3. Nice work on the violin! I loved the slow revealing of what sort of effects it was capable of through the video, I'd love to see it really taken to the other extreme and just blast out noise music honestly.
    And yeah silent raves are a very strange, interesting concept to me. So much of the power of music to me lies in the interpersonal experience of it, how we all are capable of hearing one thing and having either the same or a *completely* different experience of it, and these raves are so detached from that. It seems so isolating. Almost like an excuse to be comfortable dancing if you're not comfortable doing it by yourself in you room. I'd be fascinated to go to one.

  4. I was always super interested by some of the things Project Music did when I first heard about the club freshman year. I really like how the violin retains some of that typical bowed sound, but also incorporates some elements of modulation and reverb. Very cool!

    I think it's really cool that you're thinking about the individual experience when it comes to music. That's something that's very unique, and I think you could have an interesting time developing a piece that explores that idea.


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