Experimental Musical Instruments

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My friend of almost forty years, Bart Hopkin, was in town this week giving a talk to the MIT Media Lab. He is the founder-editor of EMI, which was a journal for many years and is now a website for the design and appreciation of unusual instruments. He is himself an builder of unusual instruments, each of them beautiful, whimsical or outrageous, and each exploring a design issue or deep principle of music-making or what we think of as music. The site has photos of some of his instruments and links to his recorded music.

Although the boundaries have progressively loosened over the years, he has always had a prejudice in favor of acoustic instruments to the exclusion of electronic. At first it seemed a little odd that he was invited to talk to the Media Center. But the Media Center is all about interface design and Bart’s fascination with unusual instruments entails a preoccupation with interface in a creative endeavor. So it ended up making sense. The audience was entranced by the talk. It occurred to me that, as far as I recall, I had never blinked to his site. Enjoy, both producers and consumers of music among you.

Experimental Musical Instruments Home Page.