Sound Machines: Build Your Own Synthesizer

January 18, 2011 5:01 pm / by / no comments


The development of this workshop started with a short presentation on the functions of synthesizers. The presentation was not so much about sharing knowledge, but showing the creative possibilities of these music machines. One months later on tuesday night January 18, 2011 (to be exact) guitar teacher Vincent Zaalberg and Patching Zone intern/coach Lennart Boers took the presentation to the next level by organising the first internal (meaning: CKC members only) synthesizer workshop. Inspired by the didactical training ‘ sound and interactivity,’ this workshop would teach you how to make your own synthesizer. Only three days after the press release was the workshop fully booked.


The ‘Sound Machines’ ¬†workshop taught participants how to build their own synthesizer by making an oscillator. An oscillator is an electric circuit that produces repetitive electronic signal. A synthesizer normally has one or several oscillators that determine the timbre and frequency of the synthesizer. By exploring the technical construction of a synthesizer and building their own synthesizers, participants learn to understand the workings of a synthesizer.


This internal workshop turned out to be a big hit, so we continued to work on this workshop model. This resulted in the development of a longer workshop with the help of Patching Zone coach Berit Janssen. Two external workshop try-outs were held. One in spring break, and one for secondary school students. Only the third try-out was a 4 day workshops. In both workshops the participants would learn how to make an oscillator using breadboards and arduino’s. They could experiment with knobs, different kinds of sensors, and attaching ¬†their mobile phones to their sound machines. The third try-out had the most room for individual/group experimentation. The participants would look up interesting features on the net and would test them in class.



Design Cycle
Show & Tell (December 16, 2010): 7 CKC participants
1st Test Session (January 18, 2011): 7 CKC participants
2nd Test Session – Krokus (March 1): 10 participants
3rd Test Session – Projectenweek (Mai 9-12): 23 participants




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