The electric guitar wasn’t invented until 1931. But since then, it has become the most important instrument in modern music. Ever wonder which strange new instruments being designed today will come to define the future of music?
The annual Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition, sponsored by Georgia Tech, awards $10,000 in prizes to the creators of the world’s most inventive instruments.
“A lot of what the judges have to deal with is trying to define for themselves what it means to be a musical instrument,” says Jason Freeman, an assistant professor at the school of music. “Then they can begin to understand what is an effective or a particularly exemplary or transformative example.”
The 20 semifinalists for this year’s competition have just been announced. They range from musical sponges to a beat-making glove to a hologram-projecting soundboard. Here are our five favorites:
It’s a little like a wearable theremin: a “data glove” that lets the wearer create electronic music with hand gestures.
A hybrid dulcimer and sitar, designed specifically to accompany devotional yogic chanting.
Matthew Steinke’s MIDI-controlled acoustic organ mimics the power of a cathedral’s massive pipe organ.
The Holophone projects a hovering three-dimensional shape that morphs according to vocal and audio inputs.
Most sponges only make squelching sounds, but The Sponge is equipped with sensors that detect when it’s squeezed, touched, or shaken; input which wirelessly translates to sound.
Check out the complete list of 20 nominees over at The Creators Project.