Make Electronic Beats With Just Your QWERTY Keyboard

Make Electronic Beats With Just Your QWERTY Keyboard

Patatap explores the concept of Visual Music with this synesthetic experience.

Rachel Pincus
  • 1 april 2014

In his most recent project, Google designer Jono Brandel shows the possibilities hidden within our standard keyboards with an interactive site called Patatap.


With no musical knowledge required and most of the sounds untuned, pressing combinations of keys soon leads to an explosion of sound and color. Brandel was inspired by the condition of synaesthesia, which creates automatic sensations in other senses upon experiencing certain sensations. In the case of Patatap, you can ‘see music,’ as Brandel matched the sounds with patterns and animations that seemed relevant. The sounds evoke electronic music and were created by the Japanese composer duo Lullatone.

Visually, Brandel was inspired by the paintings of German synesthete artist Wassily Kandinksy, Dadaist Viking Eggeling, and the motion paintings of Oskar Fischinger. “Each color palette has a unique corpus of sounds,” he wrote on his site. “Each set comprises sounds that enable a full-bodied composition both in terms of sound and visuals. These sounds are geared toward making tapping as melodic as possible, similar to a keyboard of drum pads. The result is a visceral and rewarding experience.”


Since 2012, Patatap has been configured and projected at theThe Tech Museum in San Jose, CA, Super Flying Tokyo, thePunto y Raya Festival in Reykjavík, andMonarch in San Francisco. It can also be embedded almost anywhere on the web. As Brandel remains a Google designer in his everyday work, perhaps we’ll see some synesthetic principles coming to DevArt or Google itself in future years, as the result of this exploratory work.

Patatap // Lullatone
[h/t] Fast Company, The Independent


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