Gettin’ MIDI with it! Na na na na na na na nana!
Sequencers are an interesting type of electronic instrument, capable of playing a selectable beat over and over. These devices can take many forms, but the GRIDI (“Grid plus MIDI”) is likely one of the largest. It takes the form of a table with a 16 x 16 grid of lights embedded in it. Each of these lights, along with a sensor, are placed at the bottom of a small round recession on this table. When in operation, a line of these lights light up, travels in a set rhythm to the other side of the table, then reappears at the beginning to start the loop over again.
As entertaining as this is by itself, if a marker is placed in a dimple, then when the line of lights passes over it, the instrument signified by that position is played. As there are 16 positions that the line passes over, this allows for 16 virtual instruments to be sequenced at each line position.
The brainchild of musician Yuvi Gerstein, this contraption is inspired by Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings, which can be seen on display behind the sequencer in the video below. Control is accomplished by an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), along with a Macbook Pro. As you might suspect, although the build looks very clean, there is a lot of wiring behind the scenes that makes this electronic instrument work!
Intrigued? You can check out this article for even more information on this brilliant system.