Next event:
ERINN SAVAGE – Performance
Tomorrow 15:00 GMT

Sound & Colour Synthesiser; Product Overview

Sound & Colour is an audio & visual synthesis device with powerful musical learning and jamming potential. Unlike many commercially available “learner” instruments, Sound & Colour takes an alternative approach to learning music, focusing on allowing the user access to the mathematical concepts and relationships which dictate musicality without having to understand them! It uses an intuitive “harmonic table” layout to provide the user an ergonomic and accessible musical map. This layout places useful musical intervals close together and reduces chord memorisation, meaning all the triads (the backbone of western music) can be played with just two different fingers each with just one finger. It also features a helpful colour changing LED display dispersed across the keyboard. This display helps the user to familiarize themselves with the tonal layout and to navigate the keyboard, instantly locating recognizable intervals through colour recognition. Finally the Sound & Colour features a simple yet powerful sample based synthesis engine. This allows the user to select different sounds and modify them to their taste, without getting bogged down in deep parameter manipulation. It features 8 note polyphony that allows the structure of rich chords and deep melodies and harmonies.

Harmonic Table Layout

One of the key concepts in the design of Sound & Colour and a big part of its intuitive nature is the harmonic table layout which forms its keyboard. This layout is nothing new, dating back to 1739. I discovered this layout early in my research and it has endured the design process. The harmonic table adds ergonomic, functional and user interface benefits due to its geometric symmetry. It clusters important intervals together for easy play and allows playing of chords with a single finger. I found it to be perfect for the vision I had for Sound & Colour. The other major contributing factor is the colour changing RBG LED display. This is designed to guide users around the layout and allow them to navigate in a very musical way (based on interval to colour relationships) for example the user can memorise chords and melodies as combinations of colours as opposed to note location or name.

Prototype Development

Displayed here are some of the physical prototypes I used throughout the development of this project. The prototyping process helped me refine the design through user testing and allowing me to get a physical hands on reperesentation of my design iterations. The LED and MIDI prototypes where particularly useful as they allowed me to visualise and demonstrate the concepts of the design.

Aesthetic Development Through CAD Renders

These renders represent the aesthetic development of Sound & Colour, as well as the development of its interface.

Video Prototype 1 - Fifths

This video demonstrates the harmonic table - travelling vertically increases pitch by an interval of a fifth.