Sunday, February 19, 2006

Handmade Electronic Music - the Art of Hardware Hacking by Nicolas Collins

Handmade Electronic Music - the Art of Hardware Hacking

By Nicolas Collins

Illustrated by Simon Lonergan
Book Description

Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking provides a long-needed, practical, and engaging introduction for students of electronic music, installation and sound-art to the craft of making--as well as creatively cannibalizing--electronic circuits for artistic purposes. Designed for practioners and students of electronic art, it provides a guided tour through the world of electronics, encouraging artists to get to know the inner workings of basic electronic devices so they can creatively use them for their own ends.

Handmade Electronic Music introduces the basic of practical circuitry while instructing the student in basic electronic principles, always from the practical point of view of an artist. It teaches a style of intuitive and sensual experimentation that has been lost in this day of prefabricated electronic musical instruments whose inner workings are not open to experimentation. It encourages artists to transcend their fear of electronic technology to launch themselves into the pleasure of working creatively with all kinds of analog circuitry.


Part I: Starting
by David Behrman


Chapter 1: Getting Started

Tools and materials needed.

Chapter 2: The Seven Basic Rules of Hacking

General advice.

Part II: Listening

Chapter 3: Circuit Sniffing

Using radios and coils to eavesdrop on hidden electromagnetic music.

Sidebar #1: Mortal Coils

Chapter 4: In/Out

Speaker as microphone, microphone as speaker - the symmetry of it all.

Chapter 5: The Celebrated Jumping Speaker of Bowers County

Twitching loudspeakers with batteries.

Chapter 6: How to Solder

An essential skill.

Chapter 7: How to Make a Contact Mike

Using piezo disks to pick up tiny sounds.

Sidebar #2: John Cage - The Father of Invention Sidebar #3: Piezo Music

Chapter 8: Turn You Tiny Wall Into a Speaker

Resonating objects with piezo disks, transformers and motors.

Sidebar #4: David Tudor and Rainforest

Sidebar #5: Drivers

Chapter 9: Tape Heads

Playing credit cards with hand-held tape heads.

Sidebar #6: Tape

Chapter 10: A Simple Air Mike

Cheap condenser mike elements make great microphones.

Part III: Touching

Chapter 11: Laying of Hands

Transforming a portable radio into a synthesizer by making your skin part of the circuit.

Sidebar #7: The Crackle Box

Chapter 12: Tickle the Clock

Finding the clock circuit in toys.

Chapter 13: Hack the Clock

Changing the clock speed for cool new noises.

Sidebar #8: Composing Inside Electronics
Chapter 14: Ohm's Law for Dummies

How to understand resistors.

Chapter 15: Beyond the Pot

Photocells, pressure pads, and other ways to control and play your toy.

Sidebar #9: Circuit Bending

Chapter 16: Switches

How to understand different switches, and even make your own.

Chapter 17: Jack, Batt & Pack

Finishing touches: powering and packaging your hacked toy.

Part IV: Building

Chapter 18: World's Simplest Oscillator

Six oscillators on a 20-cent chip, guaranteed to work.

Chapter 19: From Breadboard to Circuit Board

How to solder up your first homemade circuit.

Chapter 20: More Oscillators

Oscillators that modulate each other.

Chapter 21: Even More Oscillators

Dividers, feedback loops and instability; using oscillators as clocks for toys.

Chapter 22: On/Off

Gating, ducking, tremolo and panning.

Chapter 23: Amplification and Distortion

A simple circuit that goes from clean preamp to total distortion.

Chapter 24: Analog to Digital Conversion, Sort of

Modulating other audio sources with your oscillators.

Part V: Looking

Chapter 25: Video Music/Music Video

Translating video signals into sound, hacking cheap camera circuits,
and extracting sounds from remote controls.

Chapter 26: LCD Art

Making animated modern daguerreotypes and alternative video projectors.

Sidebar #10: Visual Music

Part VI: Finishing

Chapter 27: Mixers, Matrices and Processing

Very simple, very cheap, very clean mixers, and ways of configuring lots of circuits.

Chapter 28: A Little Power Amplifier

A cheap & simple amplifier.

Chapter 29: Analog to Digital Conversion, Really

Connecting sensors to computers using game controllers.

Sidebar #11: The Luthiers

Chapter 30: Power Supplies

If you must, here's how to plug into the wall with minimal risk.


Appendix 1: Resources

Where to find information and materials.

Appendix 2: References and Notes

Appendix 3: Inventory

What you need to do the projects in this book.

Appendix 4: The Rules of Hacking and the Laws of the Avant Garde

A recapitulation.

Appendix 5: Notes for the audio CD

Appendix 6: Illustration Credits


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