How Tasty Is Your Music?

Today was Drum Circle day down at Kokomos. On my way there I stopped at the supermarket and browsed in the produce department for my musical instruments.

For this first public foray I chose an Apple, Pear, Orange and a Mandarin Orange.

I was late – they’d already stared drumming. And I had to stop and ask the proprietors if I could borrow 4 forks and a knife. (needed for the musical instrument of course!)

As everyone was having fun on the drums I set about assembling my ‘musical instrument’.

  • I removed the fruit from the plastic bag and laid them out on the flattened bag (so the table would not get messy).
  • Then I stuck a fork into each fruit.
  • Then I fastened a different alligator clip to the handles of each fork.
  • Then I connected those alligator clips to the Makey-Makey board. (I hadn’t mentioned this component yet had I? more on that in a second)
  • Then I connected the board to the USB port on my tablet. My tablet was already up and running SoundPlant software.
  • Holding the ground clip in my left hand I then touched each fruit in succession with the knife in my right hand. The knife didn’t work all that well so I dropped it and used my hand.
  • The oranges worked right away, but they did require some squeezing. The Pear and Apple did not. So I stabbed them with their forks a few times and smeared their blood juices over their bodies. Then they worked.
  • I found that if I squeezed the fruit I got a good connection and a sound. But squeezing too hard yielded machine-gun rapid sounds. Just like holding a key down on the keyboard. I also did that when I bit into the fruit and ripped chunks off it. Music from dining!

Ok, what am I talking about?

Last winter I got a Makey-Makey. This little device allows you to turn almost anything into a ‘key’ on a keyboard to your PC. And using software like SoundPlant you can put any sound behind almost any key. So that means you can pick a sound and then make a real world thing make that sound.  A Carrot can sound like a Picollo. A Croissant like a French Horn. Bowls of Jelly become keys on a scale.

And when the drumming session was over I got to eat my musical instruments. And share them with others. Delicious.

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