Marimba Notes

Made by Joyce Chen

3d model of the notes behind the classic iPhone ringtone

Created: October 17th, 2016



I wanted to choose an audio piece that was very recognizable. I decided to choose the classic iPhone ringtone, "Marimba", which is embedded below.

The song is simple and is just a repeated sequence of notes, but it is one of the most recognizable melodies for an ordinary person. Since it was so simple, I felt that I'd be able to play around with more complex ideas of representing it. I also wanted to choose a short audio clip, since I felt it would be the easiest to represent given our time and space constraints.

Marimba !!
Roy Soetantio -



I created a 3d representation of the song's sheet music. I used cardboard for the base and the back panel, and then I used a foam platform to support the pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners I twisted to form the shapes of notes on a page. I made the base black so that it wouldn't distract from the more colorful notes, both in paper and pipe cleaner form. 



I wanted to take the 2d line of sheet music and extend it into a physical and tangible object.  

I've always really enjoyed art pieces that show two different perspectives of the similar things - for example, lining up an old photograph of a scene/backdrop against its modern counterpart - and I wanted to extend that to the music for Marimba. I was also interested in Natahlie Miebach's work from the course website. Musical scores and sheet music seem to have no meaning on their own, but they really are the basis for great pieces of art. In addition, people often don't connect sheet music to any visual representation beyond the symbols on paper, and so I wanted to emphasize that connection between sheet music, 3d structure, and audio. 



Do you think you captured the content and aesthetics of the audio accurately? Is it recognizable as the original sound? What did you learn? What would you do differently?

My representation of the audio was relatively direct, and it wouldn't be too difficult to connect my work to the original piece. I wasn't initially sure how to capture the "aesthetic" of the song, but I felt that the fuzzy pipe cleaner was a good way of keeping the light-hearted nature of the song. If I'd had more materials or time available, I would have tried to paint a design onto the base as well to represent the song's tone. I learned that transforming something from audio form into a physical representation allows many different paths for creativity, and it was actually kind of difficult to commit to one idea. Perhaps with more time and more area/resources to work, it would be easier to blend together different ideas without it seeming too chaotic.

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62-150 Intro to Media Synthesis and Analysis

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New creative industries are empowering new modes of collaborative consumption, creation and reuse of media. This often relies on successful collaborations between cross-trained artists, designers a...more


3d model of the notes behind the classic iPhone ringtone