Kathy Hinde

1 July, 2022

Music Box Migrations : Workshop

Music Box Migrations explores the idea of using a picture as a musical score. Images of birds, bird migration patterns and maps are printed directly onto strips of card. Holes are punched according to chosen points on the images or map. These holes trigger notes when the score is wound through a music box – creating a melody. I regularly run workshops with this idea, inviting people to tell me about a journey, which I then print out onto a card as a map, so the participant can punch their own holes, making music from the route. I’ve also adapted this workshop for other contexts, such as mapping migration routes, following rivers and environmetal

The video below starts with a close up photograph of starlings murmurating at Ham Wall, Somerset, followed by a flock of Canada Geese taking off along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, followed by more Somerset starlings, on telegraph lines preparing to murmurate.

People making music box journeys at the Merlin Theatre, during the Frome Festival in July 2009.

A map showing part of the route my family might have taken when migrating from eastern Europe to the UK prior to 1901


Music box migrations has also been exhibited as a mechanised version in collaboration with Matthew Olden. This version has 2 or 3 music boxes being live audio sampled and effect by Matthew’s bespoke sound software ‘i am the mighty jungulator’. The jungulator transforms the sounds from the music boxes into a textural, shimmering sonic environment through generative processes designed to control delays, pitch shifts and granulation. This video was recorded at the site specific outdoor show ‘For The Birds’ at the stunning Ynys-hir RSPB bird reserve, Mid Wales in October 2014. The show took place at night, with the music boxes positioned amongst trees and illuminated by small LED lights.

Music boxes mechanisms like this can be bought online from Grand Illusions.