Banana Synth and Kinetic Sound Object

Object 1 of 2 - Banana Synth


My projects for the Code of Music are two - The first is an Infinite regressive banana synth that encourages interspecies listening. I combined with project for my research work in a course I took at the same time called Temporary Expert. This is a slightly comical but earnest and approachable foray into encouraging people to find respite from the I-It relationships that plague our society thruogh interspecies/interentity listening. Presentation for this can be found here.

This synth is equipped with an accelerometer that sends data to MaxMSP via bluetooth, triggering the sound of the banana being pulled off of this same banana bunch that I previously recorded. When the x-axis goes into the positive, the sound volume turns on, the sound speeds up and gains a wet synthy sound. When the banana is tilted to the negative pole, it does the same thing but in reverse. In this way it becomes a kinetic and sonic object.

What would a banana sound like to us? I think the sound doesn’t matter - so long as it sounds abstract enough to be believable - as long as we are encouraged to listen to it.

Below is a presentation that shows the research and thought process behind this object.


Arduino Code for accelerometer.

This example code is in the public domain.

int sensorPinZ = A0;    // z 
int sensorPinY = A1;    // y
int sensorPinX = A2;    // x

//int ledPin = 13;      // select the pin for the LED
int sensorValueZ = 0;  // variable to store the value coming from the sensor
int sensorValueY = 0;  // variable to store the value coming from the sensor
int sensorValueX = 0;  // variable to store the value coming from the sensor

void setup() {
  // declare the ledPin as an OUTPUT:
//  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);


void loop() {
  // read the value from the sensor:
  sensorValueZ = analogRead(sensorPinZ);
  sensorValueY = analogRead(sensorPinY);
  sensorValueX = analogRead(sensorPinX);

  // turn the ledPin on
  //digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
  // stop the program for <sensorValue> milliseconds:
  // turn the ledPin off:
  //digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
  // stop the program for for <sensorValue> milliseconds:

  // print the results to the Serial Monitor:
  //Serial.print("sensor = ");
    Serial.print(" ");

     Serial.print(" ");

Max Patch that interprets the serial signal and assigns it to sound design.

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 4.50.18 PM.png

Object 2 of 2 - Sound-Emitting Tactile Kinetic Sculpture Tries To Be Therapeutic

I designed and 3d printed this tactile kinetic object that makes analogue tapping sound that will be supplemented with a synthesized rhythmic tapping I designed in Tone.js and will recreate in MaxMSP. Inside is a ball bearing that is pulled by the magnets embedded intermittently in the floor of the object with cement. The movement is therefore broken up into discreet movements (this will become more apparent when I replace the ball bearing with a heavier one and add stronger magnets).

I plan to finish this piece by mapping the rhythmic sound design to the rocking movement using Adafruit Feather with Bluetooth and an accelerometer. I will update this page once I have done this. For now you can see the shape playtested in the video as well as fabrication documentation below:

I used Vectorworks to create the shape and the team at LaGuardia studios was generous with their time, especially Taylor Abshur, in fixing the geometries in order to prep the files for printing.