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Five things you didn’t know could make music

With artists like Amon Tobin and Schneider TM producing entire albums based on field recordings, you can expect the definition of what a musical instrument is to grow more relaxed. And there are some people (mostly hippies) who do away with definition and insist music is everywhere. I don’t agree with that line of thought, but it definitely can come from the least expected, everyday objects. If you have an old PC lying around, this may inspire you:

5) Game Boys

What you’re about to see is a grown, sweaty, bearded man making music in the chiptune genre, which is mostly based on production of very primitive sequences using the sound chip in the original Game Boy. There’s a documentary here you might want to check out.

4) Printers

Remember those old dot-matrix printers? The ones that could be used to print the equivalent of cave paintings in the “Information Age”? Now you can put yours to good use sort of. I think we can agree this is cooler than printing an ASCii Tweety Bird.

3) Hard Drives

This is possibly less “instrumental” but still a feat. You can control the RPM and angle of the read/write head so that this actually produces sound with a pitch range.

2) Scanners

Or “Reverse Printers” as I like to call them, are also capable of a very warm and dynamic tone. I would actually want to play this one. Bonus points to scanners on this list for coming with their own lightshow.

1) Floppy Disk Drives

This is #1 mainly because of the quality of sound. Floppy Disks definitely have a greater range and more familiar sound overall, but still retain that “I am obsolete because I hum” quality. This piece is particularly impressive:


Put it all together


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