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Gravidium Ore: Music as an Interface

Published onOct 07, 2019
Gravidium Ore: Music as an Interface

I read On the Consequence of Sound by Timothy Dimacali. The description of the world was mythical and entrancing, but my focus was drawn specifically towards the Gravidium Ore. From what I pieced together, this ore begins to levitate and can be controlled through music, with many getting introduced to controlling it through playing a jaw harp. A jaw harp is a traditional instrument which is held in the mouth and plucked to make sound.

The combination of a traditional instrument and this sci-fi ore seemed to be in the vein of steampunk, but got me thinking about reaching more into mythic and traditional stories rather than being purely in the realm of hard sci-fi or Victorian era aesthetics. The idea behind the SEA anthology was to counter the idea of British imperialism and dominance which often goes hand-in-hand with steampunk, and this story accomplished this task, creating a new world which relies heavily on myth, tradition, and history, rather than technology and wealth.

The specific way that the ore is controlled by music can also inspire real-world technology. By playing certain arpeggios and scales, the ore knows which direction to move and can take more precise movements and maneuvers based on complexity. I hadn’t thought about it before, but using music to interact with objects is an interesting control scheme that isn’t utilized often. Reading this story had me start thinking about different ways in which music could control devices, and how that would affect both the user and the device.

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