Omele Machine

An apparatus for playing with time 

Just like a clock, the huge, rotatable disc of the Omele Machine is subdivided into 12 segments. Each individual segment contains trigger mechanisms for various percussion instruments. The grooves that create these sounds can be turned on with the switches. Players can choose whether even or uneven meters are heard within a given disc rotation - meters that correspond with the divisors of the number twelve (2, 3, 4, 6). The traditional West African Omele rhythm can also be found in one of the grooves and heard in a kaleidoscope of various ways as it is placed within different rhythmic contexts.

Facts & data

  • Material Steel, ball bearings, lifting magnets, guiding electronics, percussion instruments
  • Sound Mechanical sounds, percussion instruments
  • Where it can be used Inside
  • Setup time 1 hour
  • Duration Days, weeks, months
  • Space requirements Approx. 300 x 300 cm
  • Electricity 220 V / 200 W

Games & activities

  • Space for playing 2 players
  • Instructions needed Runs by itself; suitable for workshops
  • Supervision needed Yes, to protect against vandalism
  • Duration 2-5 minutes 
  • Possible activities Cranking, switching circuits on and off

Knowledge & experience gained

  • Divisors
  • Divisions of time
  • Common denominators
  • Rhythmic motives
  • Polyrhythms