Music Box

“Music Box” is a concept for an interactive musical instrument and teaching tool. Participants wave their hands in between two boxes (one suspended from the ceiling and a second directly below the first on the ground) interrupting a laser beam. When the beam is interrupted a tone will play and LED lights in both boxes will flash. The installation is made up of 24-36 of these ‘laser strings’ arranged in a rough ring encircling the participant. Guests can easily wave their hands through multiple laser beams at once producing several tones and flashes of light in quick succession or at the same time.

Music Box Sketch

An extension of the concept involves the addition of a button on a podium. When a participant presses the button the installation enters ‘tutorial mode’ and prompts the player to ‘pluck’ strings (or interrupt beams) in a particular order in a simon-esque fashion, first playing a single note, waiting for the participant to mimic the action, playing the first and second notes in sequence, waiting for the participant to mimic, and so on and so forth. The object is to teach the participant to play a randomly chosen song such as “Mary had a Little Lamb”, or the first phrase of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”. When the tutorial is completed the participant is rewarded with the installation performing the whole piece.

Approximate size of the project is 6′ x 8′ x 6′. Minimum material requirements include at least 48 6-inch high wooden dowels, several square yards of translucent paper, at least 24 lasers, at least 48 colored LED lights, a laptop computer, at least 2 speakers, and as much luck and elbow grease as we can muster.


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