la Pâte à Son

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Rating: 4.6/5 (50 votes)
Comments (19) | Views (1,019)

la Pâte à SonThis amazing sound toy was created in France by multimedia conception and interactivity company, LeCielEstBleu, and commissioned by the Cité de la Musique in Paris. la Pâte à Son is an original musical piece and compositional tool that was conceived to encourage musical experimentation, and its achievements surpass its goal. Not only is this toy fun to play and experiment with, it is also capable of creating some very beautiful music.

la Pâte à Son designs

The basic premise of the work of art is this: little pieces of clay, or pâte, pass through a variety of tubes and instruments causing them to play their respective sound. Controls exist for changing an instrument's octave, for modifying the tempo, changing the key, changing the melody, and even for injecting a bit of randomness to the equation. It may seem a little confusing at first, so it starts you off with an example.

When the very large (1020x720) Shockwave movie begins, you will see the title screen. Simply click on it to get to the music machine display. The machine has many example configurations to start you off with. Feel free to experiment with the various instruments as it plays to get a feeling for the options you have. I suggest turning on help balloons initially to get aquainted with the various levers and controls. Turn on help balloons by clicking the question mark ("?") in the lower right corner of the play field.

When you are ready to begin constructing your own compositions, clear the checkerboard by pushing the red button near the top right corner of the board. You can pick up any of the instruments or tubes from the conveyor belt, and place them anywhere you wish. To rotate a piece, simply click on the yellow arrows that appear when the mouse rolls over it. Connect pieces together such that the clay pieces begin to flow through your composition. As they do, the instruments you have placed will begin to play.

There is a lot to explore and to discover with this wonderful little toy. The instruments are all unique in their design and the artwork conveys the whimsical character of the toy. The variety of ways to modify each instrument and composition facilitates a rich and immersing experience. Connecting tubes together to build arteries of sound is compelling, intuitive and gratifying. The resulting music is mesmerizing.

Play la Pâte à Son


sounds like it's an audio version of this game;

really nice work!

Trogdor248 March 31, 2005 9:08 AM

Wow, that was way too much fun. That totally made my day.


Jay, how come I can't see the entire screen. The right side is cut off, and I can't find a way to scroll horizontally.


Chado - if your screen resolution is not large enough to fit the entire window, try using the text link la Pate a Son.

For future reference, besides creating the link on each entry's image and the 'click' link at the end of the review, I will usually include a link within the review that does not use a pop-up window, and that link will appear the first time I reference the name of the game.


Loads of fun. I just wish there was some way to save your creations...or is there a Save function that I haven't found yet?


LeeshaJoy - yes, you are correct. There is no way to save your creations, and that is something I had intention of mentioning in the post, but didn't. It would have made this marvelous toy perfect.


Wow, this simply has to be the best flash toy I've ever seen. Great find!


I could play with that forever...or at least until I got a headache ^_^
It makes me think of such games as Electroplankton (which I can't wait to get...eventually).
I think that in a way, the fact that one can't save their creation is actually not too bad. It's neat to make one, enjoy it for a while and then start over again.


Harukio- you are correct. that sway fuction with the speakers does tend to give you a headache. i turned my speakers off cuz it was that bad and i hadnt even played yet!

Dave Horner February 15, 2006 4:44 AM

Yeah! This is great!! But is there some way of downloading the toy to my comp so's I can play it offline? The 'Make Available Offline' in Favorites is disabled for this page.


This is an awsome game, and it's eductaional too. Is there a limit to how many of each part there is, because I was waiting for a fourth symphony horn tube, and it never came!

p.s. That second sentence made me think of Charlie Brown for some reason.
p.s.s. I don't know what that has to do with anything.


JacobX, I haven't run up against a limit of how many of each particular instrument you can have. It can take a while if you are waiting for a particular piece to show up on the conveyor though.

There is one thing that I did when I wanted to make a song using primarily one particular instrument. Note that you can only do this before you start working... so you have too know in advance what you want.

1) If the random example doesn't have the piece you are looking for, generate a new one.
2) Hit the button to clear the grid, all the pieces fall onto the conveyor.
3) Right away stop the conveyor belt!
4) Drag all the pieces you want to keep to the left of the belt, and everything else to the right.
5) Keep repeating this process until you feel you have the mostly all building blocks you'll want.

Warning: the belt will start moving whenever you re-generate a random example AND whenever you clear the grid, be sure to stop it! The pieces on the right will go away, just make sure you drag the stuff you want to keep back to the left before they go down the chute too.

It's a little tedious, but if you want to be very particular about which pieces you have it might be less frustrating than having to wait for them to come on the conveyor. (seemed so to me).

PS - there does seem to be a limit on how many of the instruments on the board will actually make sound at once. I've found that reducing the tempo allows me to hear more things going on, and faster tempo's result in more sounds omitted.


Heehee. If you really want to give yourself a headache, turn on the sway, put the tempo on high, then right-click and press "fast forward." It makes by brain bleed quite perfusiously.

("Perfusiously") Yes. -MANAX


i love this game


Hmmm... The only thing I can seem to make is a bunch of jumbled sounds.


"Server not found"....

Hmmmm, it's either my browser or I'm the local broken link finder :P


The link is not working, but a quick Google search will bring it up.
Could you host this on JIG?

[Thanks for the note. I've fixed the links. :) -Jay]


This game messed with my browser. :( The scroll function was not responding and my mouse wouldn't seem to work so with much difficulty I closed the window. Is this the IE's fault, my fault, or my laptop's fault?


I've emailed lecielestbleu, the creator who made this game and they're saying that La Pateason is releasing on those new digital platforms and they have the resources to carry out this development!


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