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Electromechanical instruments + rocks: Rock Band

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Listen to The Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun played with rocks that are being thrown, slapped, and vibrated by electromechanical instruments. This is Rock Band, a project created by Neil Mendoza as a part of Autodesk’s artist-in-residence program at Pier 9. The musical machines include the following instruments/band members:

Pinger – fires small rocks at aluminium keys using solenoids.
Spinner – launches magnetic rocks, Hematite, at pieces of marble. Rocks are launched by spinning magnets using Applied Motion applied-motion.com stepper motors.
Slapper – slaps rocks with fake leather.
Buzzer – vibrates the plunger of a solenoid against a piece of marble.

The whole project is controlled by a computer running a MIDI player written in openFrameworks talking to a Teensy. The machines were designed using Autodesk Fusion 360 and Autodesk Inventor.

Instructions on how to build your very own Pinger are here – instructables.com/id/Mechanical-Xylophone

Next: The Wintergatan Marble Machine, music made from 2,000 marbles, the LEGO Bionicle Toa Mata Band, Hit the Beat: A drum machine sound experiment, and Wooden blocks trigger sounds on Arduino-programmed turntables.

Bonus: Gravité – Objects falling with rhythm, Beethoven’s Ninth on a Toolbox Glockenspiel, and this classic forest xylophone.

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