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Note cup for composers

Friday, May 15, 2015

I met my professional, Niek, a music student, for this cooperation design assignment. Since he is a composer, I am more interested in way how rhythm is made than the way how sound is made, which means that my direction is related to composing rather than instruments.
Niek told me how he usually makes music: when he has an idea he normally writes them (music notes) down on his notebook and then deals with it when he goes home. However sometimes he has no inspiration, especially when he wants to make something new. Then I found that I can make a tool that helps composers make new ideas in an extreme helpless environment. I went directly to the language of composers: staff (stave). Simply speaking, staff is the thing that tells musicians on which moment which tone should (or will) come out, the position of notes tells how high or low the tone is and different shapes of notes tells the length of the sound.


My idea was to create new pieces of staff as a starting point for composers. Once there is one good part of rhythm they can finish the rest. Since Niek and I made the conversation during drinking coffee, I found that a cup can be a good form for the tool — small and functional. The point was to produce new pieces of staff completely random and potential of unlimited results.
1st step:
Thinking to make a tea set with a transparent cup and a plate with five circles or arcs which represents the staff. When the composer spin the cup on the plate, from above he can see the handle of cup point out different notes. I studied a lot of round patterns but finally found out that it can’t work at all. The handle always points the same note or a same piece of music. Then I realized that the circle staff isn’t necessary.


2nd step:
I researched how notes can move at the bottom of the glass.



3rd step:

I turned to make a transparent cup cover with traditional blank staff (five straight lines) and put five to seven flowing dots as note at the bottom of the cup.



4th step:

Decided to let the cup itself carry all functions, which means that there’re no additional part for it, also simplify the shape of the cup. The black notes work better than white ones since they can be seen through tea or colored soft drinks.



(this is a .gif, click to see the whole)

It is a pity that people from glass workshop told me that it is not so possible to make this cup precisely with glass because the whole process will be in a hot environment, the liquid and my hot glue notes won’t survive.  Despite that, I’m quite happy about the result, and the experiment is telling me that this cup really works.
Check it and you can ask me for that piece of ringtone ~

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