The development of technology continually influences the development of new tools for the electric production of music
The first attempts to construct an electrophone, that is a musical instrument in which sound is produced or processed using electronic oscillations, were noted in the nineteenth century. A multi-part electric organ, the so-called telharmonium, was created as early as in 1906. In the 1920s and 1930s, there was great development in the production of electrophones, and we could already distinguish a variety of electronic music genres, including ambient, industrial, house, trance and dub, by the end of the twentieth century. Over the years, electronic music, avant-garde at first, turned into a part of popular culture – it has become more rhythmic and danceable.
Today, it is difficult to keep up with the constantly emerging tools for the generation, synthesis, and mixing of music. One of them is Reactable – an electrophone of the twenty-first century which promises a new era of musical instruments. You can play it in the Copernicus Science Centre.
Playing the Reactable consists in placing on it some special cubes with dot codes printed on the walls that inform about their function – each cube wall has a completely different function in the generation of sound. The codes are recorded by an infrared camera located under the counter. The camera image (various pieces of encoded information) goes to a computer program that assigns specific music elements to the selected codes – sounds, loops, effects, oscillators etc. Therefore, music is composed with the cubes. The possibility of unlimited arrangements opens up endless possibilities for music creation.