Harry Potter and the Chamber of Music


Most music is made up of many instruments working together, but an untrained listener has trouble understanding how they come together. What will allow them to hear both individual parts and understand the whole?


Our team of two built a pad shaped like an orchestra and made it play the music from each section (woodwind, percussion, etc.) and show visualizations based on where users stepped. When we brought multiple users together, they could make the whole piece play at once. Because it was recognized by many users, we used music from Harry Potter.


I built electronic touch pads, connected them to an Arduino, and wrote code to correctly mix tracks together from a MIDI file.


Arduino, Processing, Java


We went through a long ideation phase, exploring ideas about how to connect music and other explorations of space and time. As we focused on exploring the musical space within an orchestra, we created sketches of how we would shape the orchestra pit and built prototypes controlling musical tracks using physical sensors and an Arduino. Because there already exist children’s toys for making music by covering buttons, we intentionally make the design collaborative by making it large enough that to require multiple users for the full sound.