Year created:




The initial inspiration for this interface came when driving to Sydney on the Hume highway. Whilst driving along I noticed huge telegraph cables crossing the highway, the highway had high banks either side and these huge cables slung over the highway dipping with a smooth curve. I imagined the cables as a huge double bass and thought about the deep bass sounds that would from strumming these huge cables.


The concept of this sound toy is to use the strings of a telegraph line as a sound toy, to generate bass tones. The user will play the string by moving the mouse across the strings thus playing a note. The note generated will depend on the position along the string. The volume of the note will depend on how hard they move the mouse across the string.

Version 1.0

This initial version used maths to ascertain whether the mouse's position above or below the line and when the mouse crossed the line, that triggers the sound to play. The interface also tracks the distance travelled by the mouse between the enter and exit frame events to work out how hard the user had strummed the strings and increases the volume. The position the mouse interacts with the telegraph's string was tracked with the mouse enter and the length of the telegraph's string was divided by 16 to give a plus 8 and minus 8 octave scale on the initial sample used.

Version 2.0

The revised version gave the control back to the user and was more in keeping with the tactile qualities of a double bass. The strings have to be plucked with a mouse click, this triggers the sound playing. There is a different note for each string and the notes are pitch shifted over a plus or minus scale.


To improve the interaction and user feedback. To use high quality samples set to an exact note that can be accurately pitch shifted to give correct musical scale. To look at how volume functionality could be a depending on how hard the user pulls at the strings.

Extending the Concept

Using a web cam linked to goggles it would be possible to capture these images in real time. The use could wear a headset and look at telegraph lines and using their hands play the telegraph lines as musical instruments. The level of contrast between the sky and the telegraph line would have to be quite high to calculate the co lour difference between sky and cable, the user would also have to have a glove with either led placed on glove to calculate the position and movement of users hand against the background.