Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Small microphones

I've been thinking these small tie clip style microphones are probably the best option for placement in the tea cups. I'll need four, each connected to the small mixer and then to the computer. I think the fact the they will be inside ceramic tea cups will color the sound interestingly and add to the sonic experience for the user.

The use of contact microphones instead of standard clip type mics is something I've been thinking about. This would certainly have a massive effect on the sounds being played/spoken into each cup but might detract from the users understanding if the sounds were changed beyond recognition. I'm going to purchase a cheap, small, contact microphone this afternoon to experiment with how it colors the sound I make into one of the tea cups.

A new box, thats big enough!

Unfortunately the first box I bought didn't fit the Mac Mini inside it, which makes it pretty much useless. This is a sewing box I've just bought from a flea market and which is definitely big enough to house all the necessary things, and leave enough space to keep all the electronics cool. I've been thinking about ways to use the rotation of the tea cups as something which might control a parameter of the audio playback, but this is something thats going to take a bit of consideration. Perhaps rotation could effect playback speed or pitch with the amount the lid is lifted effecting something different.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A box to house everything!

I've Just bought this box. Its going to house a Mac Mini (that will run my program) and the other electronics.
I'll have to drill a hole for the computers power and another for the sensors wires that will go through the lid and straight into the cups.

I still need to develop an idea for something that the actual teapot itself can do....

First Max/Msp Patch and a possible venue

I've been thinking about the ways I could set up the program to record from the tea cups, and after some discussion with my tutor have decided to use a small mixing console to mix the four signals from each cup before they enter the computer. This negates the need for a '4 in 4 out' sound card but does mean that only one cup can be used to record at any one time. The light sensor in each cup will dictate which buffer the sound is recorded into.

This is my first attempt at the making something like what might be required. I need to find a way to have the light sensors trigger a change in the signal path so that the right cups match the right buffers, which will be important in the playback stage...

I've decided to have a go at 'hacking' a games controller and rewiring it to see if I can get reasonable results without the need for an Arduino or something similar. I think that because I have a good amount of time left with this project, and several lecturers who do this sort of 'hacking' it would be worth while having a go.

Also, I may have a venue for the project when its finished. The Bath Teahouse Emprorium have said they might put it on for a while, which would be a great way/place for it to be marked!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New books and gadgets

This week I've been working on a few new ideas for the project. I know I want an interesting interface for a sample type instrument but I haven't yet formed a conceptual idea why it should be a Japanese Tea set.
I bought two books a few days ago, the infamous ''book of tea'' and ''Cha-no-yu'', so I'm trawling through them getting some background knowledge about the history of the tea ceremony and looking for some interesting concepts to bring into the project.

A tutor at University suggested hacking a game controller as a cheaper alternative to the Arduino, I'll have to look into this a little more. I need to find out what to use as the actual light receivers.

Also this last week I've been a little distracted as I've just bought one of these!

Its called a Monome 64 and I'm thinking it could be used in the installation in some way, but again not too sure just yet.

Also on the lookout on ebay for nice old mahogany boxes which can have the tea set on the top and the electronics/cabling inside. Just missed out on a nice on church collection box!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I've been thinking that the best way to trigger the on/off recording toggle (in max/msp) is going to be by having a something that can detect the difference in light levels when each of the four cups have their lids taken off and replaced. The ''Arduino'' seems like something that might be able to help me, perhaps having it located centrally in the main teapot?
I've posted this idea/question to the Cycling 74 website and think they should have some helpful suggestions for me...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A four track tea set sampler

Tristan Louthe Robin is an Australian sound artist who recently use 3 teapots as a way to change sound being played back though them.

My Ideas have been slowly coming together lately and I've been thinking about creating a four track sampler of some kind, using the four cups as a track each and using the removal and replacement of their lid as the 'start/stop' record trigger.

Perhaps using the main teapot itself as the playback device would make for an interesting, all encompassing interface?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hydrophone and Musical Tea set ideas.

I bought a hydrophone recently from ebay and have been trying to think of a way to incorporate it into the project. so far I've been thinking of perhaps using an threshold in Max/Msp which when the amplitude sent by the hydrophone exceeds a certain amount will trigger an action, perhaps using a steady drip as the starting point.

Also, I have a small terra-cotta Japanese (four cups) set that I would like to make use of, but I'm still not sure how.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Seeking forum advice

I'm still trying to peg down a definite idea and so have decided to post my problem on a few relevant forums. This should get a good amount of sensible idea's that I can then merge together and modify.

I'm thinking it would be neat to use a hydrophone microphone that I've just bought somehow....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Initial Proposal hand-in

Today was the deadline for our first piece of work, a 500 word initial proposal outlining the initial direction of the project and what we are looking to achieve and research. This is to both help us start pinning down some real idea's, and to focus us on a certain pathway which may or may not change and develop. I explored the general idea of an computer based installation with a link to bringing natural elements and sound together in an interesting and engaging way.

To that end I am scouring the web searching out all manner of similar things that have been done by others in this general area in the hope of triggering further inspiration and clarity for my own project.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The point of this Blog

The idea behind making this blog is to help me build up an idea of what it is I'm going to do for my Major Creative Project, why I'm going to do it and to start creating an online presence for it right off the bat.

It is the major piece of work for the final year of my undergraduate degree in Creative Music Technology at the University of Bath Spa.

Here go's....