Creating a Contrasting Section

For the B part of my composition I wanted more of a rhythmic drive. I wanted the whole section to be focused on short rhythmic motifs rather than long legato phrases. I then added in a semi-legato melody to give it some direction after some great feedback from my teacher. The following tracks show my improvisation to create the material as well as some of the final audio on Sibelius.

Please ignore my awful singing…

Adding a Countermelody

Thanks to the advice of my amazing teacher, I decided to add a countermelody to my composition. To do this, I practiced improvising over the top of the chords and melody . I decided that I wanted something that created contrary motion with the main melody and the first two bars happened to sound like the beginning of ‘Welcome to Jurassic Park’ by John Williams…

Troubleshooting the Large Scale Floor piano

When I tested the piano with the remapped Makey Makey, I noticed that two of the notes were playing at the same time when only one of them were touched.

I eventually figured out tha this was happening because the aligator clips were touching and these are metal, therefore conductive.

I have now put electrical tape around each connection so that they aren’t exposed.

Building the Large Scale Floor piano

We did it!

6 hours, 2 blocks of cheese and 1 pack of tim tams later, we completed our large scale floor piano!

We started by sticking our yoga mats to the bottom of our large piece of plywood. The idea behind this is that when people are jumping on the keys, it will give it a little bit of give rather than a strictly hard surface.

This guy helped us out:

We then tested our materials on a piece of scrap plywood in order to figure out how to layer the duct tape and aluminum foil tapes and still allw it to be conductive. The main things we discovered were:

  • The jumper leads didn’t have to be between two pieces of al-foil tape. They could be stuck down straight onto the board with the al-foil tape and it would still receive the signal.
  • We could stick the lead on top of duct tape with al-foil tape and it would still recieve the signal.
  • Our earth could be any other piece of al-foil that wasn’t touching the other pieces and the lead from that piece of foil had to connect to the earth bar at the bottom of the Makey Makey.

We then used a builders square (handy to have a Dad that was a Carpenter) to measure out our keys. We penciled them in and then taped 4 strips of overlapping al-foil tape in between, leaving small gaps next to each penciled-in line to ensure the keys weren’t touching.

Next, we taped down grey duct tape between each tile to fill in our gaps.

We then had to earth all of the keys. We did this by taping down a long strip of the al-foil tape along the bottom of our keyboard which then attached to a thin strip of tape at the very end of our keyboard which taped down a jumper lead which was connected to an alligator clip which was attached to the earth section on our Makey Makey. Simples!

The building square was used again to measure out the black keys and then we filled them in with black duct tape.

We then used small strips of al-foil tape (cut to 3/4 of the width) to stick down our leads to connect to the Makey Makey.

Across the top of the keyboard we then taped down a strip of grey duct tape, overlapping all of those strips of al-foil tape (this is so that we can connect all of the earth strips for these keys later).

We then added a strip of al-foil tape to one black key and hooked the two strips on the one key up to the makey makey to test whether it would recieve the signal. It did!

We then repeated this for the rest of the black keys.

These were then connected by a strip of al-foil tape across the top of the keyboard with only one jumper lead stuck down in the middle of this large strip of tape. This meant that we only needed one lead connected to the Makey Makey to earth all five keys.

We then used small bits of black duct tape to overlap each end of our black keys to make them look more like black notes on a keyboard and also just to tidy the whole thing up.

Then it was time to teast out that the Makey Makey would receive a signal from all of our keys when they were pressed. We attached alligator clips to the end of each jumper lead that was stuck down at the top of our keyboard and attached them to the makey makey. When we ran out of connections for alligator clips. We connected them to another jumper lead and inserted them into the small holes in the back of the Makey Makey.

The green light on the Makey Makey means that it has receive a signal:

We then tested it out with a Scratch program we had found on… well… Scratch, (fancy that), that was programmed to play certain notes when certain keys on the keyboard were pressed. At this point we hadn’t remapped the Makey Makey to play the right notes, so it is a bit random. There is even a glockenspiel in the lower half of the octave… But the green light is the main thing!

The End… for now!

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