The Reactable: A Tangible Way to Create Music

Technological advancements are always allowing for the creation of new, innovative ways to make music.  There are always new electronic mediums popping up through which we can make music.  Yesterday, I heard about the Reactable.  I’m not sure how new it is, or if I’m just behind on the times, but this device is pretty nifty.  Basically, it’s a glowing table that you put blocks on and twist around to play different loops.  My explanation is pretty primitive.

According to the Reactable website,

“The Reactable uses a so called tangible interface, where the musician controls the system by manipulating tangible objects. The instrument is based on a translucent and luminous round table, and by putting these pucks on the Reactable surface, by turning them and connecting them to each other, performers can combine different elements like synthesizers, effects, sample loops or control elements in order to create a unique and flexible composition.

As soon as any puck is placed on the surface, it is illuminated and starts to interact with the other neighboring pucks, according to their positions and proximity. These interactions are visible on the table surface which acts as a screen, giving instant feedback about what is currently going on in the Reactable turning music into something visible and tangible.

Additionally, performers can also change the behavior of the objects by touching and interacting with the table surface, and because the Reactable technology is “multi-touch”, there is not limit to the number of fingers that can be used simultaneously. As a matter of fact, the Reactable was specially designed so that it could also be used by several performers at the same time, thus opening up a whole new universe of pedagogical, entertaining and creative possibilities with its collaborative and multi-user capabilities.”

To get the full effect, you really have to watch a video.

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