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Happy Feet

Jimmy McKenzie and Rebecca Kenaga


MUS150

Here you will see our colored pressure plates attached to our Makey-Makey and laptop.
Use your feet to play these instruments, which imitate a piano, drums, strings, and voices! The
piano creates melodic sounds, the drums provide percussive beats, and the strings and voices
establish ambient sounds. All of the pitched instruments are tuned to a pentatonic scale because
we want our experience to create relaxing, consonant sounds — as pentatonic scales provide.
Pentatonic scales are formed from five notes total (hence, “penta”). Major pentatonic scales are
formed from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th steps of a scale and are used all around the world.
However, not many traditional melodies can be played using only pentatonic scales; this
encourages you to create your own songs!
Step on the different “keys” —lightly!— to figure out which pressure plates trigger what
sounds. Maybe use the piano to improvise over the long, drawn out sounds of strings and voices
in the background. You could add a beat as well — or ask a friend to help out! Move those
happy feet!
- Pressure Plates are the physical tools we are using to allow users to interact with the
setup. They are constructed out of two cardboard planks keeping aluminum foil sheets
separated. When pressed down, the foil sheets touch, and complete an electric circuit
supplied by copper wires underneath the platform.
- Makey-Makey is the technology that we are using to serve as the medium connecting the
physical and technologic aspects of the project. This hardware allows us to complete
circuits that, when active, trigger sounds in Scratch. (​http://makeymakey.com​)
- Scratch is a programming software set up by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT). This is the software that actually generates the sound. When the circuit is
completed in the physical world and transmitted through Makey-Makey, a signal is sent
to Scratch that a note or beat needs to be played. (​https://scratch.mit.edu​)

After our experience you will know about:


- Pentatonic scales and how they can be used to create songs.
- How to experiment in improvisation and interact with others while doing so.
- The possibilities of Makey-Makeys and other music technology.

After making some beautiful music, please take the following survey open nearby on one of our
computers! ​https://goo.gl/forms/mJtrmdI93AV82gmg1

Thank you and good luck on finals!