A POCKET MUSIC MACHINE that anyone can play
Beats. Melodies. Airhorns. Noise.
What if there were a pocket sound toy that was smaller than anything out there, and could do more?
And why not make it programmable so you can make it do whatever you want?
Here's the full story. I love sound, and sound art, and music gear. And playing music out loud with other people is really fun. And there are portable instruments, like a ukelele, that are nice and small. So I wanted to make a pocket electronic music device that was like that, but could make all sorts of sounds! Would be easy to get into, but still enough of an instrument that one could play it on purpose.
I've had some thoughts lately about why musicians seem to stay so youthful. And I think it has to do with the word "play." It's notable to me that one "plays" music. And if you watch kids do something, they're totally in the moment, they try this and that and the other with complete abandon. Then we get older, and play becomes some trivial thing while we go on doing "serious" things, like go to work or whatever.
Anyway, there are tons of instruments, both acoustic and electronic, and most have a pretty steep learning curve. "What am I supposed to do here?!" Bitty doesn't require lessons, or a manual, or anything like that. And if you're already a musician, it has enough depth to let you play it like a real instrument. So when I say "toy," I mean it in the most serious sense, something you can really play :)
People Playing with It
How do I know people are having fun? Because they’re making faces :)
What Does it Do?
As of this writing, there is software to play beats. Software for melodies. And a crazy noise patch. More to come…
At the core, it’s an Arduino-compatible device (means you can write software for it!) In fact any sound related software already written for Arduino should work with little to no effort.
It’s battery powered, and has a speaker. So you can put it in your pocket and take it anywhere. If you’re in the studio, it will run off USB and plug into an amp, etc.
If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line!
Also, sign up for that list above. I send out regular developments and other fun stuff.
Here’s a crazy idea. My friend Jim Wagner walked into my studio and said “what if you build a giant Bitty… with a trampoline?”
I thought he was a genius so I did that. Here’s the result at Aeronaut Brewing Company, a local brewery.
It’s a mega recreation of the little one, in fact it’s powered directly by an itty Bitty. The cushy stomp buttons plug right into the buttons, and the trampoline has a stretch sensor that replaces the right pitch knob.
It also happens that my friend Dan and I built a chair knob, which didn’t make it into this show (it needs some experiments so the chair and trampoline don’t compete). You can see the fabulous knob here.