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Musical Branches

Allowing users to create musical pieces through an interactive tree.

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Design Skills


Project timeline

The Brief

The Musical Branches Project started life as a personal design project due to my close ties with music and aims to provide a unique, atmospheric and immersive musical experience.

See it at Reveal 2019

The project

Musical Branches is intended as an exhibit piece, one that would be at home in an interactive museum or a music/technology conference. Over time the project evolved, gaining its own personality with an emphasis on hiding the mechanics and wiring as best as possible to not break immersion with users. The tree uses a mixture of touch and positioning sensors, allowing users to change and influence the tree’s performance of many different tracks, which can be switched out with other music files to generate a different performance. The main theme of the piece is to create a feeling of relaxation (or Zen) with gentle melodies and natural sounds of the Northumberland countryside.

Each touch sensor, which suspends from an individual branch of the tree, is programed to play a specific section of music; brass, keys, bass, natural sounds e.t.c, at random, encouraging users to experiment with different combinations of sound files to create a unique piece of music every time.

Through research into existing devices and user testing the tree has proven to be an engaging and individual design/music piece as well as a device that can help with development in small children with sensory impairment through a combination of touch, lights and sound.