The Samplebars


The Samplebars are the central installation at the Music department at the new Museum For Performing Arts in Stockholm. The challenge was to bring life to the instruments from the vast collections of the museum. Instruments that are not allowed to play on, or even touch in some cases. 5 blocks on each of the 2 samplebars control one instrument group each; rhythm instruments, bass, chords, melodies and effects. Each block have 4 sides that each play loops of one of the instruments. By moving the block up and down on the interaction surface, the volume goes up or down. The sound can be panned left or right by moving them left or right. By twisting the blocks clockwise or counterclockwise, the play different variations of their melody or rhythm. All loops sound good with all other loops so there is no need for musical skills or understanding to make sweet music. Each instrument is lit by a dmx controlled spotlight synchronized with the music interaction.


All loops were played by experts on the various instruments:

Gunhild Carling, Ulf Åkerstedt, Suranjana Ghosh, Jörgen Pettersson, Eva Lindahl, Des Ward, Valur Paulsson, Mohammed al Rubaie, Salman El Fakir, SL1200jazz, Mike Suso, Peter Fridholm, Ulf Bjurenhed and Håkan Lidbo. Some instruments were transformed into sample instruments by Claudia Jonas.

The instruments:

Left station – Accordion, cembalo, mandolin-guitarr, harp, ivory flute, violin, toy piano, nail harp, riq, turntable, d-drum, tabla, bass saxophone, moog synthesizer, höfner electric bass, bass trombone.

Right station – Mbira, cora, electric organ, banjo, steel pan, oboe, swedish bagpipe, balaphone, snare drum, Linn drum machine, guiro, digerido, violone, helicon, bass ocarina.

Fx – reverb, delay, low pass filter, loop machine.


This is how it works:


The interaction blocks:

Infoscreen to the left, visualization of the interaction to the right:

An infrared high frame rate camera underneath the interaction surface read the codes on the blocks:


Before the installation: