Drumtop v1.0 – physical sampler


Man, I love novel ways to make music, particularly if that music also happens to sound good. A while ago I came across just such a little project, the Drumtop v1.0 by Akito van Troyer. The Drumtop is an instrument with 8 speaker and transducer pairs that allow you to program sounds from anything you can fit on a speaker. It uses the speakers to create sound in an unconventional way, simply by moving up and down to cause whatever is on top to shake.

It’s a really simple idea, but I’m particularly impressed by the way that you interact with the instrument. By pressing down on the speaker the movement is sensed by the transducer underneath. When you press down a number of times to create a pattern it is recorded. The speaker then moves in this pattern causing whatever is on top of it to make a sound. By placing different objects on top of the speakers and sequencing different patterns with them you could create lots of interesting combinations.

I’m already interested in the idea of taking things everyday things and making music from them. I made a piece of music before from samples of different glasses and bowls in my house–which was really fun and has changed the way I experience putting away the dishes. And while it is possible to create tracks from everyday objects by sampling there’s something much more immediate about the way that you can make music with the Drumtop. The video below gives a nice demo of how the device can be used with different items to create different sounds. There something really pleasing about hearing a sound when you see something move. I’d love to have a go!