I have been working on a new project for Hallowe’en this year. I’ve written 6 new pieces of original music on Hallowe’en themes. I’ve arranged them all for my 5-octave music boxes and for my Music Roll instruments.
But that wasn’t enough.
I’ve also been looking into 19th century developments in moving pictures. The phenakistoscope and the praxinoscope are good examples. (Look them up on Wikipedia.) They are fascinating gadgets (and I’m thinking of building a praxinoscope in Real Life), but these mechanisms don’t produce the same optical illusion in Second Life.
So I modified the design and created my own.
I have built a machine I call my Hallowe’en Spectre-Scope. This device has a series of 8 pictures arranged in a ring, similar to the phenakistoscope, but with the pictures on the outside. In front of this is a large disc with a small window cut into it near the edge. The window in this shutter disc is the same size as one frame of the picture ring. As the picture ring rotates, the shutter disc rotates 8 times as rapidly, so that with each turn the shutter allows a brief glimpse of the next frame on the photo ring. By attaching the photo ring and shutter disc to a music box mechanism (and adding an animated texture) I have created a video music box!
I have called this Video Music Box a Spectre-Scope, because the device allows you to see things that are not really there (much like seeing spectres, according to skeptics), and because most of the picture rings I have developed to accompany these Hallowe’en songs involve ghosts.
The Hallowe’en Spectre-Scope is now in my Clockwork Music showroom on the Port next to Cuffs, and I invite you to come see it.
Touching the device will cause the crank to turn, winding the spring. The picture ring and shutter disc will then start to rotate, initiating the moving picture illusion. Next, the music will begin to play. When the music ends, the device will choose another song at random from the remaining 5 songs in this collection, and will load the picture ring for this song into the viewing position. You can stop a song while it is playing by touching the device. You can also touch the display photo (inside the viewing frame above the Clockwork Music logo tag) to advance directly to the next randomly chosen song and picture ring pair without playing the previously chosen song.
The following is a description of the songs and photo rings on the Hallowe’en Spectre-Scope :
“Stealth” — a very sneaky sounding song, accompanied by a video loop of a stranger dashing surreptitiously through a cemetery.
“March of the Fallen” — a slightly twisted military march of moaning ghosts accompanied by a video of a ghost soldier marching through a former battlefield.
“The Secret Laboratory” — a musical peek inside the secret laboratory of an eccentric genius (or should I say, a mad scientist?) accompanied by a video of a high voltage traveling arc (also known as a Jacob’s Ladder).
“Trick or Treat!” — a playful piece invoking images of children in costume running from house to house through the dark, screaming “Trick or treat!” at whomever they see. The video is of a trick-or-treating ghost frightened by a bat.
“Hallowe’en Waltz” — a spritely waltz punctuated by the cackle of witch’s laughter, accompanied by a video of a witch flying through a moonlit sky.
“Ghost of the Forgotten Lover” — a melancholy tune of love lost—for all eternity. The accompanying video is of a well dressed Victorian lady ghost waiting singly for her love, while other ghostly couples fly from their graves into the night sky.
I do hope you will find time to visit the Clockwork Music showroom to see this new device and to listen to the music I have written. I look forward to your comments. (I will try to post a YouTube video soon, but a software update on my computer has made Second Life videos more difficult to produce.)
Your humble servant,