Music Technology
Relay organ plays the sound of switching

Youtuber ffoitl shares this refreshing take on the MIDI synthesizer, utilizing the acoustic side effects of a relay switch –

a musical instrument inspired by elisha gray’s “musical telgraph” one of the first electric/electronic musical instruments ever.
it’s basically a relay oscillator than be “tuned” to various frequencies via midi controlled capacitors.
in the video i use a tenori-on as a midi sequencer. the video of the tenori-on is not totally in sync with the rest of the video but you should get an idea.
the sound is recorded with a self-built piezo contact mic and a coil taken from a solenoid.

Cited as inspiration, Elisha Gray‘s invention is acknowledged as the first electric synthesizer –


In 1876, after narrowly losing the race to patent the telephone, Gray created the first single note oscillator from a self vibrating electromagnetic circuit. The Musical Telegraph transmitted the sound of steel reed oscillations over telephone line. Anyone for a remake?