Archive for Instrument

Musical Tesla Coils

Posted in Instruments with tags , , , , , on December 5, 2009 by lindahurd

Last year at Maker Faire in Austin after seeing some intense battlebot action, I got to witness huge tesla coils playing music.  It made me think about how cool it would be if a band incorporated Tesla coils into a live show.  So after some googling, i found this:

It’s hard to see exactly what’s going on in that video, but here you can see that this guy is wearing chainmail and standing in between the tesla coils:

I think my favorite Tesla coil song is the Dr. Who theme.


Student Orchestra Performs Music with iPhones

Posted in Instruments with tags , on December 5, 2009 by lindahurd

This is a cool article from Wired about a class at the University of Michigan where computer science students get to create their own musical instruments for the iPhone. “One student’s instrument uses the iPhone’s video-savvy screen and microphone to synesthetically work the relationship between color and sound. Another student is exploring what the iPhone can do with feedback and distortion.”

From the article:

“What’s interesting is we blend the whole process,” Essl said in a phone interview with “We start from nothing. We teach the programming of iPhones for multimedia stuff, and then we teach students to build their own instruments.”

“We don’t stop there,” he continued. “We don’t just see this as an engineering exercise. We want to do the whole process where we start from nothing, and then we go to performance next week in a live concert, where people can come and listen to the outcome of what students have learned in the course.”

The advantage of digital music can be seen in instruments as far back as the electric guitar: the flexibility to manipulate bits of code to create different sounds, superseding the limitations of a traditional analog instrument. Naturally, technological advancement keeps raising electronic sound to new heights. In recent years, musicians have been experimenting with gadgets ranging from laptops to high-tech cellos, and from cellphones to bent circuits.”

Tenori-On LED Instrument

Posted in Instruments with tags , , , , on November 10, 2009 by lindahurd

The Tenori-On is a handheld, square-shaped instrument with LED buttons.  I love instruments that incorporate music visualizations.

According to the about page,

“The TENORI-ON is a unique 16 x 16 LED button matrix performance instrument with a stunning visual display. For DJs & producers it is a unique performance tool enabling them to perform using MIDI and load the TENORI-ON with samples to ‘jam / improvise’ within their set BPMs.”

Not only does it sound cool, but it looks pretty neat, too.

Watch a demo of it here:

The website includes videos of musicians using the Tenori-On, and includes a performance by Paul de Jong of The Books.  Now, the demo video of the Tenori-On is really cool and makes me want to play around with it.  But these videos of talented musicians putting this instrument to good use is really beautiful.  Even though it looks like a toy, it can still create amazing music.