Geometry of Music Spirl Light Sculpture #ArtTuesday
Thanks to Jason Cooper for writing in to share his really awesome Arduino Mega project! Check out more info here.
It’s alive! Music enthusiasts may enjoy this. I initially had the idea for this light sculpture about ten years ago… finally got around to building it.
It’s a representation of the physics and geometry of music. If you were to equally tension 12 strings from the center point to each of the spiral intersect points on the outside, you could fret each string at the inner spiral intersections, and get an octave up (1/2 length), or two octaves up (1/4 length).
The logarithmic spiral depicts the ratios of the 12-note chromatic scale over three octaves. A fourth outer octave is included to round out the circle shape.
Our minds automatically process these geometric relationships between notes and octaves when we hear a tune. I wonder if our minds are continually running a “Simon Says” simulation like this when we hear music. It might explain how we’re able to quickly memorize melodies, anticipate coming notes and verses, and feel comfort and familiarity in phrases repeated an octave up or down.
The sculpture is 32 inches in diameter — all wood, with an acrylic frosted circle on the front to diffuse the light. One hundred and sixty two programmable APA102 LEDs were used in the spiral, with some additional LED rings in the center. The LEDs are driven by an Arduino Mega 2560, with a custom program I wrote to convert MIDI (music) data to the sculpture.
Adafruit DotStar Digital LED Strip – White 60 LED – Per Meter – WHITE: Move over NeoPixels, there’s a new LED strip in town! These fancy new DotStar LED strips are a great upgrade for people who have loved and used NeoPixel strips for a few years but want something even better. DotStar LEDs use generic 2-wire SPI, so you can push data much faster than with the NeoPixel 800 KHz protocol and there’s no specific timing required. They also have much higher PWM refresh rates, so you can do Persistence-of-Vision (POV) and have less flickering, particularly at low brightness levels. Read more.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.