The Mechanical Sequencer.

This is a mechanical instrument that can be built, customized and deconstructed while it is being performed.  It embodies the whimsy of a kinetic sculpture or a Rube Goldberg-esque machine and insights curiosity and audience engagement because of it.  It can be well understood as a mechanical representation of a digital sequencer.

Drum Machine
The instrument can be used to sequence any percussive sound.  It was first conceived as a drum machine and was showcased as such at the Oakland Museum of California.  The performer can position the magnetic gears to strike any drum of choice and then program the rhythm with binder clips.  Both traditional drum beats and more experimental ones can be achieved.

Rotating Metallophones
The mechanical sequencer is currently being performed with Rotating Metallophones to explore melody, harmony and tuning systems.  To do this, the machine is no longer beating drums around the table, rather custom-made circular metallophones that are mounted on gears.  Attached to the gear system, they too revolve as the rhythm beats, allowing the creation of either loops or changing melodies.

Combining tactile, visual and audible approaches to music creation helps both the performer and audience to think in interdisciplinary ways.  For example the geometries of a complex rhythm can be seen as the addition of simple shapes and ratios.


Photo by Johnna Arnold


Photo by Johnna Arnold


Photo by Johnna Arnold


Photo by Johnna Arnold













Meridian Gallery, San Francisco








Bing Concert Hall, Stanford