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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

COFFEE BREAK | Hamster-Operated MIDI Music

By Jennifer Liu on August 13, 2017

Talk about aleatoric music—in a project submitted during his Electrical Engineering Master’s, Levy Marcel Ingles Lorenzo, Jr. combined his passions for music and electronics with the help of some furry assistants.

Inside Lorenzo’s motion-activated contraption, six hamsters move in random patterns to create three-voice polyphony, as each critter holds independent control over elements to the “performance.” The instruments you hear—clarinet, marimba, and acoustic bass—each span two lines: one for rhythm, the other for pitch and note sequence. The apparatus’s total range stretches three octaves! 

“This project was initially fueled by the desire to explore the MIDI protocol,” Lorenzo explained in his project report. “It was decided that this would be accomplished by building a MIDI device. I also aimed to make something novel that had never been done before. But to balance out the unusual nature of its design, I wanted to also to create something that was very musical.”

To read Lorenzo’s complete design project report, head here.

Have another COFFEE BREAK HERE.

Jennifer Liu

Jennifer Liu

Jennifer holds a master's degree in piano performance and is pursuing her degree in journalism at Carleton University. Previously, she lived for classical music in Toronto and Montreal.
Jennifer Liu
Jennifer Liu

Jennifer Liu

Jennifer holds a master's degree in piano performance and is pursuing her degree in journalism at Carleton University. Previously, she lived for classical music in Toronto and Montreal.
Jennifer Liu

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