Handmade Electronic Music : The Art of Hardware Hacking book cover
2nd Edition

Handmade Electronic Music
The Art of Hardware Hacking

ISBN 9780415998734
Published April 13, 2009 by Routledge
360 Pages

SAVE ~ $11.39
was $56.95
USD $45.56

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking provides a long-needed, practical, and engaging introduction to the craft of making - as well as creatively cannibalizing - electronic circuits for artistic purposes. With a sense of adventure and no prior knowledge, the reader can subvert the intentions designed into devices such as radios and toys to discover a new sonic world. At a time when computers dominate music production, this book offers a rare glimpse into the core technology of early live electronic music, as well as more recent developments at the hands of emerging artists. In addition to advice on hacking found electronics, the reader learns how to make contact microphones, pickups for electromagnetic fields, oscillators, distortion boxes, and unusual signal processors cheaply and quickly.

This revised and expanded second edition is extensively illustrated and includes a DVD featuring eighty-seven video clips and twenty audio tracks by over one hundred hackers, benders, musicians, artists, and inventors from around the world, as well as thirteen video tutorials demonstrating projects in the book. Further enhancements include additional projects, photographs, diagrams, and illustrations.

Table of Contents

Foreword David Behrman.  Acknowledgment.  Introduction.  Part 1: Starting  1. Getting Started: Tools and Materials Needed  2. The Seven Basic Rules of Hacking: General Advice  Part 2: Listening  3. Circuit Sniffing: Eavesdropping on Hidden Electromagnetic Music  Art & Music 1: Mortal Coils  4. In/Out: Speaker as Microphone, Microphone as Speaker - the Symmetry of it All  5. The Celebrated Jumping Speaker of Bowers County: Twitching Loudspeakers with Batteries  6. How to Solder: An Essential Skill  7. How to Make a Contact Mike: Using Piezo Disks to Pick Up Tiny Sounds  Art & Music 2: John Cage - The Father of Invention  Art & Music 3: Piezo Music  8. Turn You Tiny Wall Into a Speaker: Resonating Objects with Piezo Disks, Transformers, Motors, and More  Art & Music 4: David Tudor and “Rainforest”  Art & Music 5: Drivers  9. Tape Heads: Playing Your Credit Cards  Art & Music 6: Tape  10. A Simple Air Mike: Cheap Condenser Mike Elements Make Great Microphones  Part 3: Touching  11. Laying of Hands: Transforming a Portable Radio into a Synthesizer by Making Your Skin Part of the Circuit  Art & Music 7: The Cracklebox  12. Tickle the Clock: Finding the Clock Circuit in Toys  13. Hack the Clock: Changing the Clock Speed for Cool New Noises  14. Ohm’s Law for Dummies: How to Understand Resistors  Art & Music 8: Composing Inside Electronics  15. Beyond the Pot: Photocells, Pressure Pads, and Other Ways to Control and Play Your Toy  Art & Music 9: Circuit Bending  16. Switches: How to Understand Different Switches, and Even Make Your Own  17. Jack, Batt, and Pack: Powering and Packaging Your Hacked Toy  Part 4: Building  18. The World’s Simplest Circuit: Six Oscillators on a Chip, Guaranteed to Work  19. From Breadboard to Circuit Board: How to Solder Up Your First Circuit  20. Getting Messy: Oscillators That Modulate Each Other, Feedback Loops, Theremins, Tone Controls, Instability, Clocks for Toys, Crickets  21. On/Off (More Fun with Photoresistors): Gating, Ducking, Tremolo, and Panning  22. Amplification and Distortion: A Simple Circuit That Goes from Clean Preamp to Total Distortion, and an Envelope Follower  23. Analog to Digital Conversion, Sort Of: Modulating Other Audio Sources with Your Circuits, Pitch Tracking, and Sequencers  Part 5: Looking  24. Video Music/Music Video: Translating Video Signals into Sound, Hacking Cheap Camera Circuits, and Extracting Sounds from Remote Controls  Art & Music 10: Visual Music  25. LCD Art: Making Animated Modern Daguerreotypes and Alternative Video Projectors  Part 6: Finishing  26. Mixers, Matrices and Processing: Very Simple, Very Cheap, Very Clean Mixers, and Ways of Configuring Lots of Circuits  27. A Little Power Amplifier: Cheap and Simple  28. Analog to Digital Conversion, Really: Connecting Sensors to Computers Using Game Controllers  Art & Music 11: The Luthiers  29. Power Supplies: Carbon Footprints from AA to EEE  30. The Future is Now  Appendices  A: Resources  B: Tools and Materials Needed  C: The Rules of Hacking  D: Notes for the DVD.  Notes and References.  Illustration Credits. Index

View More



Nicolas Collins, an active composer and performer of electronic music, and has worked with John Cage, Alvin Lucier, David Tudor, and many other masters of modern music. Dr. Collins is Professor of Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has led hacking workshops around the world. He has been Visiting Artistic Director of STEIM (Amsterdam) and a DAAD composer-in-residence in Berlin. Since 1997 he has been editor-in-chief of Leonardo Music Journal.