Monday, September 19, 2016

30 Days of Weird Instruments, DAY 9 – Circuit Bending

Today is the second entry in this series that's broader than a single instrument (the first was DAY 7, the Vegetable Orchestra of Vienna). This one goes out to the engineer-minded musicians out there.

Circuit bending is defined by Wikipedia as "the creative, chance-based customization of the circuits within electronic devices such as low voltage, battery-powered guitar effects, children's toys and digital synthesizers to create new musical or visual instruments and sound generators."

A simpler way to define it is "messing with an electronic device's circuits to make weird things happen."

For example, you can circuit bend the graphics on an old video game console to make bizarre pictures on your television screen. For music, you can circuit bend the sound on a device that has a speaker or audio output to change the noises it makes.

People who circuit bend don't always know what the end result will be, so exploration is a big part of the process. You can circuit bend electric guitars, effects, and amplifiers, but some of the most memorable examples have been with objects whose primary function was not to make music.

Like this old Nintendo Gameboy...

Or my favorite, an old Speak & Spell...

Or this... whatever it is...

Tomorrow's instrument cares about the future of Italian music.

Purchase I AM DRUMS!

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