Survey on Musical Instruments

“The Acoustic, the Digital and the Body: A Survey on Musical Instruments”

“In the autumn of 2006 we conducted a phenomenological, qualitative survey on people’s relationship with their acoustic and digitial instruments. This is part of an ongoing research.”

The survey is still open if you wish to participate.

via HectorC on the Csound Mailing list.

Robot Voices and Android Grooves

The fourth Csound Blog entry is up.

“One of my earliest synthesizer fascinations was the robotic voice produced by band vocoders. While in college, I stumbled across the vocoder schematics in The Computer Music Tutorial by Curtis Roads. Equipped with only Csound and my new-found knowledge, I created my first vocoder instrument. I have since designed many variations, and will likely to continue doing so for many years to come. Because robots rule…”

Topics covered:

  • Band Vocoder
  • Envelope Follower
  • Speech Synthesis

The Csound Blog


Martians by Zia

ZIA is an exclusively electronic band who began performing on the East Cost in 1992. Founded by Elaine Walker, ZIA bangs out pro-space and sci-fi music on futuristic instruments. The notes and samples are triggered ALL LIVE with drum sticks! Microtonal musical scales run rampant throughout the ZIA repertoire. In the pop genre this is a monumental task which adds an eerie, futuristic edge to the songs.” (source)

ZIA is by far my favorite pro-space electronic band. They just released their new album Martians. Ordered mine last week. If you’re curious as to what ZIA sounds like, check out their myspace.

Moog Patents

US Patent 3,475,623:
Electronic High-pass and Low-pass Filters Employing the Base-to-Emitter Resistance of Bipolar Transistors

I have been collecting copies of Moog patents, those invented by Robert Moog and as well as those assigned to Moog Music, Inc., and the synthesizer-related patents of Norlin Music, Inc., the company that purchased Moog Music. I present them here along with some hopefully entertaining commentary.

– J. Donald Tillman

Visit Moog Patents at

Shinola Low-Pass

Shinola Low-Pass

“It works okay, I guess.”

I’ve recently taken a detour from the alien world of circuit-bending into the greater cosmos of electronics. And what better thing is there to do with my new found hobby than to build modules for my Doepfer Modular? If you answered “why nothing,” you deserve a cookie.

Shinola Low-Pass Inside

Inside the box

Above you’ll see the result of my entire Saturday, the Shinola Low-Pass. It is a simple, passive knob-controllable low-pass filter. Its constructed from an old GBA-SP box, two capacitors, wire, two 3.5mm jacks and a 50k potentiometer.

It works okay, I guess. I intentionally crowded the jacks and pot into the corner, giving me room to expand it’s functionality later. The cutoff only goes so low, which could have been fixed with higher capacitance capacitors. Still, not bad for a first try. Despite being mostly useless, I’m quite proud of it.

Discovering Electronic Music

This is an educational film from 1983 describing a little bit of the history and tools of electronic music. The best thing about it is that it is behind the times for 1983, and seems more like a 1970s film. Frequently featured is a Moog modular! Also featured is a Fairlight, but as an analog obsessive, I’m less interested in that.

This reminds me of the old Encyclopedia Britannica films we watched back in high school. Despite being quite vintage, the content of the film is still relevant today.

Whitney Music Box

Whitney Music Box

The Whitney Music Box is a wonderful example of Process Music. The audio generated is musical in nature, and the process itself is obvious thanks to the simplicity of the animation. Each of the 18 variations have their own distinct qualities, showing the versatility of the instrument and of the sound spaces it creates.

Whitney Music Box is based on John Whitney’s motion graphics, realized by Jim Bumgardner, aka KrazyDad.

From the description:

in three minutes, the largest dot will travel around the circle once, the next largest dot will travel around the circle twice, the next largest dot three times, and so on. the dots are arranged to trigger notes on a chromatic scale when they pass the line

Thanks to PAgent of PAgen’ts Progress for the link.