Project inspiration - Musician

Zhuoran Li - Mon 2 March 2020, 8:10 pm
Modified: Sun 8 March 2020, 9:40 pm


Music is always connected with waves. Either in a music editor or music player, there are always waves or different height squares to show the music's key.

For instance, Microsoft media player was once the most popular player and it used many different colorful patterns to display the music in a visual way.

Imgur Imgur

In the short film "Secret chord", the character is assessed by playing music. On the screen behind him, the music is displayed as waves. Considering the support from materials science, what if the waves can be out of the screen and tangible? What if people can actually touch the waves, play with it or create music by moving the waves?


This is how I came up with the idea of "Musician". People can just pick up a string or a wire to play music. Ideally, the material should be unlimited.


There are not many limitations of "Musician". People pick up a string, fix it on something, maybe the wall or the table. Then twist it to different shapes.

The shape of the string represents the melody of the music.

The fixture can be the beginning or end of the music, or it can represent a stop in the music.

different colors of the string represent different instruments. For example, the black string has the sound of the piano and the blue string sounds like a cello.

To interact with the string, there are three modes.

  • play:

When people touch the string, it makes sound and the volume depends on how hard people press it, the speed depends on how fast people move their fingers.

  • create:

Pick up a string, twist it to any shape, generate a piece of unique music by using the string.

  • explore:

Users are encouraged to try different colors, different combinations, different patterns. They can even try to change the status of the string, for example, pour some water onto it or put the string in different height. There should be an endless possibility.



To use it

Imagine some children are enjoying a birthday party and they want some music. So the grandma gives them some balls of wool. The children begin to play with the string on the floor. They use pins to fix the wool. It might be dangerous, so they decide to use stickers. One of the children fixed the beginning of the wool. Two of the children are trying to play the sound together. Another child is creating new music by using two strings, thinking about how music can be happy and enjoyable. The last child is bringing in a new color of wool. As the different color gives the sound of different instruments, the child is thinking where is the best place to let the sound come in.


Imagine another scenario, a person use the string to reproduce a piece of famous music for people who cannot hear. Through the shape of the string and the vibration, those people can feel how the music been played and they can even play by themselves. This can be a whole new experience.


To develop it

  • As the string can generate vibration, there is a possibility that it can be linked to the artificial cochlea and help deaf people play or listen to music.
  • What's more, music can invoke memories, so the "Musician" can also help people getting back special memories.
  • There are many "waves" in nature, mountains, ocean, and horizon. The "Musician" can freeze the beautiful scene and shows the music generate by nature.
  • As the color represents for the instrument, and color can also show the emotion, the emotion and unique sound of the instruments can be connected somehow.




music wave:


Secret Chord:

music visualization music without limitation children friendly encourage exploration