2f. Get a screw started in the hole on
the other side, but leave some of the
threaded part showing so it’s easy to
wrap the string around it.
2g. Here is where some slack is handy.
Make a loose loop of string around the
screw, and then wrap the slack around
your hand so you can pull the string
tight while you tighten the screw to
secure the string.
2h. Congratulations! You’ve just installed your bass string. Repeat steps 2c through 2g, using the #15
mason twine, for the tenor and alto strings.
People have been building playable musical instruments from LEGO for some time. Henry Lim’s LEGO
Harpsichord (see Made on Earth, page 23) and Brad’s
LEGO Guitar have been written about many times,
but they’re only the start.
Telerobotic Glockenspiel Player: XILO is a slightly
frightening-looking device that uses the LEGO
camera to watch the player and translate his or
her movements into real-time Glockenspiel play-
ing. Eight metal tubes lifted from a toy xylophone LEGO Dulcimer: What is it with medieval instruments and
surround a two-motor whacker in the middle. One LEGO? Mountain dulcimer enthusiast Peter Always built
motor rotates a mallet into position, and the other himself a bright yellow dulcimer, with properly spaced
brings it down onto one of the tubes to play the frets made of little grey tiles.
Robotic Ukulele Players: Brown University
students Bryant Choung and Amelia Wong built
a ukulele-playing robot out of LEGO in 2003, and
more recently, Middlebury College students Mike
Rimoin and Jarvis Lagmans built a smaller one
that plays three-chord, such as “Stir It Up” and
“Rivers of Babylon.”
RCX block (the brain of the system) has a built-in
speaker, and Ralph Hempel has written a webpage
that explains in eye-watering detail how to make
music with it. Remarkably, there doesn’t seem to
be a MIDI interface for the RCX; at least not yet…
LEGO MIDI Guitar: The “Lifelong Kindergarten” group at
Singing LEGO Blocks: The LEGO Mindstorms
Get links to all these LEGO musical instrument MIT developed this LEGO-based system. The idea was
makezine.com/04/lego. that children could use special LEGO components to
build their own experimental instruments, which would
Tom Whitwell is the founder of
www.musicthing.co. uk. work as MIDI controllers.
Reprinted with permission from Whitwell’s weekly