Peer reviewed article under Publish—>

Description: The Toncolarium is a hybrid. Built around a water-filled transparent acrylic glass container, it resembles an aquarium. It combines colors and tones, light and sound. It connects elements of two worlds – the real and the virtual.

Target Group: musicians, performers, family

Interface I/O: The Toncolarium is made of transparent acrylic glass. The size is 100*250*1000 millimeters. The container is filled with water and the instrument is controlled by four short flexible hoses made of transparent PVC tubing. A metal thread is placed inside each hose, from the bottom and all the way to the top, where a cable connects it to a microprocessor (Arduino) underneath the instrument. The microprocessor reads the data from the hoses and the 12 metal contacts which are placed at the bottom of the water, one in each row of LEDs. The distance between the edge of a hose and a metal contact at the bottom determines the amount of conductivity. Ordinary tapped water gives a suitable resistance. By putting a hose into the water, LEDs underneath the water are highlighted with specific colors.

The player can for example control the amount of light by how deep a hose is immersed. The deeper the stronger the light will be, causing louder volume to have a brighter light. The flexible PVC hoses can be placed and hold at a certain depth. Each of the twelve rows of LEDs is controlled from a computer, so the color for that row can be changed to any color-value in the RGB-scale instantly. A sound is played when a hose has contact with the water. The area above each of the twelve rows can be assigned to trigger a unique sound. Each one of the four hoses can activate any of the twelve contact areas and all four hoses can be used simultaneously, making it possible to create more comlex chords. The player controls the volume of a sound by how deep a hose is immersed. The deeper, the louder the sound will be.

Sounds: soundfiles (pads, tones, sequences, rhythmic patterns), and complex sound programmes

Computer system: Arduino, Capacitive sensors, graphics, Max/Msp, Processing

Created by: David Yanagisawa,

Interactive Sound Design Course: Music Programming, Kristianstad University
Year: 2007, BA Programme 2006