Music

Musicon looks like a barrel of music-creation fun

Musicon looks like a barrel of...
Making music is fun and easy with the Musicon
Making music is fun and easy with the Musicon
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Making music is fun and easy with the Musicon
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Making music is fun and easy with the Musicon
Early Musicon prototype
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Early Musicon prototype
The Musicon as been designed to unlock a child's creativity while helping to develop motor and computational skills
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The Musicon as been designed to unlock a child's creativity while helping to develop motor and computational skills
Three instruments are currently in the the Musicon arsenal, a xylophone, a drum, and a percussive mill
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Three instruments are currently in the the Musicon arsenal, a xylophone, a drum, and a percussive mill
A Musicon melody is programmed by pushing down buttons on the huge barrel, which then pop up to hit instrument levers as the barrel rotates
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A Musicon melody is programmed by pushing down buttons on the huge barrel, which then pop up to hit instrument levers as the barrel rotates
Musicon players can play the instruments directly, or let the popped up buttons on the barrel dictate the melody
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Musicon players can play the instruments directly, or let the popped up buttons on the barrel dictate the melody
The Musicon has been designed to be safe to use for children aged 2 and up
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The Musicon has been designed to be safe to use for children aged 2 and up
The instruments attach to the top bar of the Musicon using magnets
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The instruments attach to the top bar of the Musicon using magnets
When a raised button hits the xylophone lever, the mallet is raised and released to sound a note
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When a raised button hits the xylophone lever, the mallet is raised and released to sound a note
The barrel can auto rotate on mains power or be manually pushed forward and back by the young tunesmith
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The barrel can auto rotate on mains power or be manually pushed forward and back by the young tunesmith
The Musicon isn't necessary a single player machine, and could assist in bringing shy kids out of their shells through cooperation and teamwork activities
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The Musicon isn't necessary a single player machine, and could assist in bringing shy kids out of their shells through cooperation and teamwork activities
Teeny tunesmith coders can compose and perform musical pieces at the same time
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Teeny tunesmith coders can compose and perform musical pieces at the same time

Learning to make music should be fun. It should also be easy. Traditional instruments like guitar and piano can be tough for youngsters, but composing and performing on the Musicon is as simple as pushing a button. Well, maybe more than one. The huge wooden sound lab works a bit like a barrel organ, where raised pegs cause an instrument to sound when they hit key levers.

Initially developed by Kamil Laszuk as a graduation thesis project in 2011, the Musicon project was followed by months of prototyping. Now the inventor and his 25-strong team of musicians, designers, engineers and child specialists reckon that the machine is ready for serial production, and will be seeking crowdfund support in the coming weeks to bring his idea to life.

The Musicon isn't necessary a single player machine, and could assist in bringing shy kids out of their shells through cooperation and teamwork activities
The Musicon isn't necessary a single player machine, and could assist in bringing shy kids out of their shells through cooperation and teamwork activities

The sound, physics and mechanics lab is made primarily from wood, reported safe to use for children aged 2 and up and has been designed to unlock a child's creativity while helping to develop motor and computational skills. Central to the Musicon is its barrel, which is home to 720 buttons that pop up when pressed.

In essence, the Musicon is programmed in a similar way to Martin Molin's Musical Marble Machine. When a raised button comes into contact with a lever of one of the three instruments attached to the frame with magnets, a sound is produced – and the output is all analog, no digital processing or amplification required. The current gaggle of instruments is made up of a xylophone, a drum and a percussive mill, but more extensions are planned for the future.

Teeny tunesmith coders can compose and perform musical pieces simultaneously, and hear what geometric button creations, or dot-to-dot "drawings" and other patterns, sound like. The instrument isn't necessary a single player machine, and could assist in bringing shy kids out of their shells through cooperation and teamwork activities.

Three instruments are currently in the the Musicon arsenal, a xylophone, a drum, and a percussive mill
Three instruments are currently in the the Musicon arsenal, a xylophone, a drum, and a percussive mill

The barrel can be pushed back and forth manually, or a lever at the side used to engage a mains-powered mechanism to turn the drum, which rotates faster as the lever is pushed forward, topping out at 144 bpm. The mechanism has been designed in such a way that kids can safely stop auto-rotate at any time without being dragged through the laundry wringer, so to speak. A two line LCD display on the right side offers operational info such as beats per minute.

The Musicon project will launch on Kickstarter next week to fund production. Pledges are expected to start at US$2,500, likely making it more suitable for day care or school installation than home use. Have a look at the demonstration video below for a taste of what's on offer.

Source: Musicon Club

Musicon – fun & creativity in education (Musicon Club)

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