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Beat Blocks

Beat Blocks is a tangible interface for a rhythm sequencer. The user is able to create and manipulate a 4-track drum loop by physically re-arranging wooden blocks within a 4x4 grid. What this enables is anyone with little or even no musical background to create and take command of a rhythmic composition. No time is needed to read a manual or learn a complicated interface. The basic act of re-arranging objects is all that is required to get started and the result is familiar enough to be instantly rewarding. Of course a good sense of rhythm will help produce a more interesting and dynamic composition, but for the most part any participant may easily produce something that sounds good (familiar).

The sequencer operates at a 1/16 note resolution. Each block has a pattern of vertical stripes that represents a sequence of drum hits for a 1/4 measure time duration. The sequence plays in a continuous loop and is updated instantly as blocks are added and re-arranged so that the composition is constantly changing as people are interacting with the system.

Two or more Beat Block units can be synchronized to add more percussive elements to the composition. Two Beat Blocks units equals 8 drum tracks and enables a playful and collaborative approach to music making. For a club-type situation this will surely provide hours of entertainment as club-goers have the opportunity to be performers. Anyone can play "DJ". It's really amazing how much you can get out of even one Beat Blocks unit.