From label to physical shape to the boxes they come in, these beer bottles have been reimagined for musical aims. Cheers! All images courtesy the artist, Matt Braun.

What if blowing tunes on beer bottles was raised to the level of musical science?

Through even the mundane medium of packaging, design can transform the everyday. DJ and designer Matt Braun of Philadelphia, collaborating with Chris Mufalli, use labels to tune the level of beer remaining in the bottle for musical results. Pitches are printed on the labels, allowing you to exactly match the liquid inside to a pitch you want, and join along with your fellow imbibers for a performance.

It’s not just a label that’s different. Ridges on the sides of the bottles make them double as Guiro-style percussion. The neck was adjusted for ergonomics. Even the wooden box becomes a tongue drum.

It’s all decidedly non-digital, group fun – Create Beer Music? (Actually, technically, they’re printing with digital tech, the quantization of liquid to discrete equal-tempered pitches is a digital process by definition, and you hold it with your fingers. So there.)

So far, this has been used in a microbrew, but the duo are looking for a partner. I’d love to have this at our next Handmade Music, if any of you are in the bottling business.

Tuned Pale Ale [ – project site]
Found via the wonderful, whimsical design blog etre, maintained by a usability and design consultancy
Thanks to Johan Strandell / 40hz for the tip.

The Tuned Pale Ale are just one of a number of unique designs from Matt Braun, all emphasizing making the ephemeral world of sound more physical.

Matt’s site is a smörgåsbord of design concepts, many involving creative uses of lasercutters and 3D forms. There are “tuned gig buckets” for busking similar to the beer bottles, useful tools for DJs using 45s, and wooden drums made from digital images of the sounds of other drums, producing “generations” of instruments in which the sound of one gives form to the shape of another.

Two of my favorites are pictured here. Custom-made shirts use user-modifiable CAD illustrations to produce wearable art made from analysis of any sound file – below, Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. becomes a pink tee. Another project in early development explores making skeletal three-dimensional forms from the structure of musical harmonies.

I look forward to seeing how these projects evolve; Matt’s looking for collaborators.

  • KVJ

    'Tis like an alcoholic . Awesome

  • KVJ

    Sorry for the typo, I meant to say "alcholoic Jal-Tarang".

  • I like this a lot. Well done for the innovative designs, what a great idea to put the pitch markers on the label. You have probably heard the VB Symphony – the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra playing completely on beer bottles (Victoria Bitter). Check it out at

  • I want the beers!
    @Peter, I agree there's a lot of "digital" involved 😉

  • Kim

    Taste Great and More Feeling.

  • Chris

    If you want to make your own, I'd recommend Newcastle Brown Ale bottles. They're much bigger, so you can easily do a couple of octaves.

    Added bonus points if you can track down Newcastle Amber Ale bottles to use for the black notes.

  • Aaron

    Who could forget the Headhunters' Watermelon Man, where beer bottles are used in place of a Hindewho? It sounds damn good too.

  • Paul

    That would be Herbie Handcock's Album ,Headhunters.And yes, that is great from start to finish. Perhaps we could inspire Herbie to re-record Watermelon Man with the Digitally tuned bottles.Science imitating art, imitating life. Dolby's Law ! SCIENCE !!!!!

  • Aaron

    That's the name of the group as well. The original solo Hancock version is 100% piano. Btw, did you just try to correct me then spell his name Handcock?