SC 2018 Semilab: Electricity and Sound

by Alex Treyer

Electrical engineering has been used to make musical instruments for over half a century. Instruments by such makers as Moog, Korg, and Roland have become staples in rock, jazz, electronica, hip hop, and contemporary composition; chances are we all have a favorite tune that features some performance on a synthesizer. Our semilab aims to look at what’s so special about using electricity to engineer sound. We will look at the basic principles for how electrical and acoustic waves are generated, and spend most of our time assembling the four stages of a mini-synthesizer on a breadboard. We will build the high and low frequency oscillators, the filter, and the amplifier, and go over a few other perks. If you like circuits and want to know the basic anatomy of a synthesizer, you’ll be right at home in this semilab.

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