Unleash Creativity in Music Creation with Muro Box and Other Instruments! (Japan)

Shawn James Seymour

Hi, I’m Shawn from Lullatone. My wife Yoshimi and I co-founded Lullatone. We’ve released a ton of albums and also record songs for films and videos.

I’m a big fan of the Muro Box – the amazing electro-acoustic mechanical music box that lets you play your own melodies on its tines.

shawn and programmable music box Muro Box in the studio

Why do I love music boxes?

I’ve used music boxes in some of our older songs for years. I always made our old melodies into music box sounds by punching paper holes into long strips of paper that plucked the tines on an old German music box before. Check out our previous video that shows Lullatone’s song “How to Tie a Scarf” played on a music box with all of the notes hand punched into a paper roll.

I still really love that machine, but I was interested in the way the Muro Box bridged technology (MIDI, etc) with classic analog sounds. That is a big theme of our music. Mixing electronics with real life objects leads to lots of interesting sounds and possibilities.

The Muro Box feels like a continuation of that tradition for me.

Of course the sounds are pretty and nostalgic (which I love) but the idea that it makes it easy for people of any age or skill level to program a melody and share it with others really speaks to me. Making music is a kind of sharing (ideas, feelings, vibes) and the Muro Box is a practical hands-on way where you can see the melody played out right in front of you!

Various MIDI Connectivity

You can connect MIDI keyboards, use their app or even send the notes to play from your DAW (like Ableton, etc). The new Resonance Box makes your music box melodies louder, deeper and richer. You can check out the videos I made with my own Muro Box here.

What Do I think about the Muro Box N20 and their service?

The resonance box was really easy to put together. The instructions were super clear and easy to follow. Also, all of the parts are high quality (which is hard to tell when you only see something on the internet). The team at Muro Box is really nice, too. When I had a problem with MIDI at first, they were very quick to help. They are super friendly and easy to communicate with. The shipping from Taiwan was fast and seamless.

Let's see how I set up my Muro Box for playing my own melodies!

The Muro Bow is really interesting because it has so many different ways to get your notes in there. I work a lot with synthesizers and midi controllers, so it is exciting to see how adding MIDI effects to the notes the box is playing changes the sound.

Let's Listen to My New Music Playing from the Muro Box-N40 Standard!

Muro Box sent a prototype of their upcoming N40 midi music box to test out. This new unit can also do the black keys on a keyboard! (the original N20 version is limited to the C major scale) Here, I’m controlling the plucking of the music box’s tines with the OP-1 Field’s keyboard by MIDI over USB-C, while sometimes adding in soft sine tone synth sounds coming out of the OP-1 at the same time. Soft sine tones and music boxes have been the Lullatone dream team since the early 2000s : ) To find out more about the N40, check out their KickStarter campaign here: Muro Box-N40 | Programmable Mechanical Music Box by Muro Box Global — Kickstarter

"I've been interested in mixing music and mechanics for years. The Muro Box is kind of like my dream instrument! It plays beautiful tones, but it also allows for a lot of experimentation with how you get the notes into it - both fun and inspiring to play with."

Shawn James Seymour