For the past 26 years, the Georgia Tech Department of Music’s Guzman Competition has introduced the world to exotic and innovative instruments. The competition welcomes inventors from around the world to build and explore the future of music, working together to create some truly strange and exciting sound machines.
“We live in a time where it’s hard to come up with the next guitar or the next violin because now everyone has the tools to make an instrument easily available,” said Jason Freeman, chair of Georgia Tech’s music department. .” Today, inventing a successful musical instrument forces you to span fields as diverse as industrial design, musical performance, and computing. The ability to foresee the future also helps.
Over the past few decades, the game has developed a deep pedigree.Past winners include major instruments that have become well-known in the music industry, including OP-1 by Teenage Engineeringthis Raleigh Waterfront,as well as Orba. The competition involves a variety of musical instruments. Many went on to become commercially viable products, some became niche tools for professionals, and some were independent works of art in their own right.
Georgia Tech announced 10 finalists for the 2024 competition Wednesday. The list includes a collection of amazing music machines. A common theme that runs through many of them is accessibility.
“Being able to sit down and play Rachmaninoff takes a lot of effort. One of our goals is to improve initial proficiency, so your first interaction with the instrument is more than just being able to play ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,'” says Ver Liman said.
Once you pick up any of these instruments, you’ll be able to make something you really enjoy. “But they still reward that deep engagement over time so that your relationship with the instrument deepens as you become invested in it,” Freeman said. “In my opinion, that’s Just what makes an ideal instrument.”
Finalists will meet March 8-9 on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, Georgia, to compete for a $10,000 prize. In the meantime, you can preview the future of music by clicking through the slideshow, or simply scrolling down if you’re on a mobile device.