Third Workshop: Music Instrument Building

On the 26.05.2019, we started the final workshop for our first half year program. We had 6 participants, who were all very excited to begin building and experimenting with their new instruments.

The first step was to prepare the enclosure/box, and fit it with piezos (contact microphones) as well as an audio output jack.

Next we began soldering the piezos to the output jack, and mounting them inside the enclosure, thus finishing the technical part of the instrument. Everyone worked very well together, helping each other out where it was needed, and the overall atmosphere was very good.

Once the instruments were ready to be plugged into an amplifier/speaker system, we began testing out the sound, and mounting different things on the boxes, using screws to create fixed points to then stretch rubber bands and springs between.

This was a very exciting part because everyone was really able to experiment, individually, with their own instrument, and at the same time take inspiration from the other participants.

We then played around with the instruments, extending their sound capabilities by running the sound through a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) on a laptop, and using different audio effects like delays and reverbs… in order to transform the acoustic sounds into evolving atmospheric and abstract noises. We were then able to explore the possibility of taking the sounds produced by the instruments, and manipulate them both physically as well as digitally.

If you want to have an idea of how the instrument sound like, you can listen to a short extract here. If it reminds you of Aphex Twin, it’s perfectly normal ๐Ÿ˜‰

The overall feedback was great! Everyone really enjoyed being able to create something, so simple yet diverse in its possibilities of experimentation. The next step could be to modify existing children’s toys. This kind of customization is called “Circuit Bending” and offers so many possibilities. For example, Sasha bought a second hand synthesizer on the flea market, and started adding some components like a potentiometer that influences the sound in awesome way!

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