Animal Beatbox

Tina Schneider and Nadja Tata

By Tina Schneider and Nadja Tata
23.03.2020 | 6 minutes readingtime

While we all try to avoid personal contact and possible infection with the corona virus, digital offers provide an entertaining potential despite all the restrictions of everyday life. Mediasphere For Nature would therefore like to present to you old friends from projects of the past years and thus offer a little bit of nature-related information and entertainment.


Animal Beatbox
Animal Beatbox

Our first candidate from this series is the Animal Beatbox::

The “Animal Beatbox” offers its users the possibility to create their own compositions in a creative and self-determined way from almost 50 animal voice samples distributed on four sound tracks. The web app is platform-independent and standard-compliant and works on desktops as well as tablets.

It was created in the context of the Coding da Vinci East Hackathon 2018. The Mediasphere For Nature team was involved in this hackathon as a data provider on behalf of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. The team around developer Jasper Pöhls, who worked together with biologist Dr. Anahita Kazem among others, was inspired by the presented recordings of the animal voice archive of the Museum of Natural History and developed the beatbox within only 9 weeks.

Most of the usable samples are taken from a media package containing recordings from the mentioned animal voice archive. Additionally, individual samples from other free sources are used. These data are enriched with pictures, teaser texts and links to additional information and are made available directly on the user interface. That makes it possible to familiarize the users with their animal choir in a playful way when creating their tracks.

Instructions

The available animals/samples are already divided into 4 groups and represented by a small profile picture. From this selection, the user can arrange a “choir” of up to 4 animals/samples. The animals selected in this way are then prominently displayed together with a larger picture and more information as well as a sound sample. Thus, the user is invited to develop a particularly personal and appealing interaction with the content.


Animal selection boxes
Animal selection boxes

With the sequencer, the core element of the application, users now have the option of arranging the chosen samples and determining when which sample is played back in which repeat patterns. The interface has been deliberately designed to be simple and intuitive using color-coding and omitting details.

Simply click on the colored circles to activate the sound. The shuffle mode (the crossed arrows) creates a random temporal selection. With the slider on the right (Bpm) you can increase or decrease the frequency of the samples. The goal is to promote a playful approach for the audience, not to develop professional audio software.

Sequencer:


Sequencer
Sequencer

When the arranged track is played back, the animals that are currently “singing” are highlighted once again, creating a dynamic reproduction of audio and visual feedback.

Have lots of fun with the Animal Beatbox!