Digital technology has made music oddly invisible, virtualized somewhere inside a screen – but it also allows music to be mapped more literally to the physical world than ever before. Some of these experiments may even be silly, but they suggest a lot of possibilities.

From Poland, BeatMachine is a project that sequences beats in a step sequencer using discarded beer bottle caps. Would-be Internet haters, I suggest you count the number of beer bottle caps on the table, and start drinking that number while watching. I guarantee eventually it’ll seem like a brilliant idea.

Make sure you keep watching to the clever-looking software they’ve evidently developed for the task.

If this seems familiar, it was in fact inspired by the Bubblegum Sequencer featured here previously, and its rival I Eat Beats. Through the power of the Internet, iterating and improving ideas isn’t just something you do for yourself alone – it’s something you can share with others. That’s the idea behind our own tangible interface hackday coming up on Saturday:

Thanks to Artur Nowak for the tip. I know we have a number of readers in Poland, so is there anyone who could help with a quick translation?

(Oh, and Poland, by the way – my book was actually translated into your language!)

  • very funny.

    how do you switch patterns ? 🙂

  • My favorite part is definitely the cute little "LECH" icons in the software. I hope the LECH people pick up on this and sponsor the project 🙂

    Speaking of I Eat Beats, I updated it a few months ago as a more generic control surface, but haven't had much time to play with it since then.

  • Jaime Munarriz

    What Book?

  • something I'd actually want to use

  • YADMS (yet another drum machine sequencer)

  • Guy

    If we're on this tangible sequencer bent, can i get in some shameless publicity for the Go based sequencer i created a few months back.

    it's fallen down on my list of ongoing projects but eventually it'll be something….i hope

  • mimou

    I'm from Poland and I've just realised, that i have your book. Nice one 🙂

  • mimou

    and a translation (quick one) from the BeatMachine site:

    BeatMachine Amateur is a musical step sequencer. It allows you to simply create music, using bottle caps (beer bottle caps of course)

    It works in a quite simple way. The table has a glass top instead of a standard one. On that there is a piece of paper divided into tracks. Every track consists of several equal areas. Web cam placed under the table sends the picture to a software, which analyses in which areas the shadows of the caps are. If there is a shadow – there is a sound. You can assign different sound to every track.

    To play with the device you just have to prepare a table (link) and run our software (link). We will be happy if you share with us your version of the machine and a screenshot of the software.(marcinw87 [ at ]

    Here's a little show off of our beatmachine:

    We didn't create this to pass any kind of exam, nor to advertise anything. Just for fun and as a challenge. We didn't also expect, that so many people are going to like it. The only payment we got for this project is our satisfaction. And we thank You for that! 🙂

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