Synthux Hackathon 2023

40k On The Floor

A reimagined barrel organ/DJ Desk that plays electronic music.
A humanised algorithm
Performance instrument

Coaches & collaborators

Queen Mary University of London
If the 18th century barrel organ was still popular, what music would it be playing? Our instrument explores the affordances of barrel organs in the modern context of electronic music, but with a human element where events and timing are not rigidly defined. It relies on the continued effort of a performer cranking the machine to set and maintain tempo. It also features two ship’s helm wheels to navigate through 40k drum samples, a siren, and a subwoofer connected to an encased amplifier for sound reproduction. It can be played by up to four people for a collaborative and theatrical experience.
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the tech

How does it work?

The crank moves a disc that is read by infrared sensors, this sets the tempo. The pirate wheels are attached to encoders and navigate a 40 thousand drum sample space. Both are processed by Bela, which generates a clock pulse, and MIDI CC for the navigation wheels. A PC running Ableton receives Bela’s messages, modifying the project’s tempo and routing the pirate wheel messages to a VST. The VST handles dataset playback: the drum samples are projected onto a 2-dimensional space navigated by the wheels.
Open source code
Click here to grab this project's code
Music production program
Framework for audio applications
Bela is a maker platform for interactive design and sound
About the instrument
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