Relay organ plays the sound of switching

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?

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