Have No Fear of Sheet Music
Gocen plays tunes by simply skimming a scanner over hand-written 5 bar music scores (Tetsuaki BABA, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Graduate School of System Design, Tokyo Metropolitan University)
There must be many people who are interested in playing an instrument, or composing music, but who struggle to understand musical score. So in Japan a ground-breaking device has been developed to allow such people to easily read sheet music. Gocen is a device capable of emitting the sound of 16 different types of instrument such as the piano, the violin and the guitar, after having simply scanned and read a hand-written, 5 line musical score.
The device was developed by an assistant professor at a Tokyo university. To select an instrument, simply write the type of instrument on a piece of paper and scan it in. The sound's length and frequency can be changed just by subtly moving the scanner. Why not hold a concert of your very own on your desk top, using music you have just composed?
Anyone can learn how to perform music with the Otamatone
© Yoshimoto Kogyo CO., LTD. / Maywa Denki
|The Seamoons - created to robotize the way the human voice is emitted – triggered Otamatone’s development. © Yoshimoto Kogyo CO., LTD. / Maywa Denki|
Feel the Music, Play the Music
"Let's try and make a machine with a human vocal mechanism." The Otamatone, developed by a Tokyo toy manufacturer, was born of such curiosity. This is an electronic musical instrument that anyone can play - with a cute shape like a musical note -press on the bar with one hand and simply slide up and down. You can adjust the volume by simply changing the way the mouth opens on the round face, and you can easily learn more complicated techniques such as how to make warbling sounds, or sounds with the wah-wah-wah effect of an electric guitar. It is also being sold overseas and in 2014 there are plans for a digital model capable of emitting accurate sounds just like a keyboard.
The Ningengakki -- a magical toy! Hold it, then simply touch each other and it will emit sounds © T-ARTS
Another toy manufacturer has developed the Ningen Gakki which is 9.5 centimeters long, with a humanistic form. It has a reputation for being magical, as people can play sounds and melodies by holding the toy between themselves and simply touching the skin on each other's hands, cheek, forehead and so on. When you hold the four electrode switches on the toy's hands and feet, you receive a very weak electrical current which sends a sound flowing through your body which is picked up and emitted by the mechanism. Enjoy one of its 3 modes - try and play one of the 10 pre-installed songs by working out how to emit the sounds, one at a time; or try to create a fully-fledged drum performance, separating out the parts into the drum, the cymbal etc.; or try animal voices, or sounds with metallic effects. It includes a function to grade the music performed and can also be played like a game.
Even those who find music and musical instruments difficult will be naturally interested in such toys and will no doubt want to take on the challenge of a musical performance.