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The world is full of great open source music players, but why stop at using open source just to play music? You can also use open source hardware to make music. All of the instruments described in this article are certified by the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA). That means you are free to build upon them, remix them, or do anything else with them.

Open source instruments

Instruments are always a good place to start when you want to make music. If your instrument choices lean towards the more traditional, the F-F-Fiddle may be the one for you.


Image: Openfab PDX CC-BY-SA 4.0

The F-F-Fiddle is a full-sized electric violin that you can make with a standard desktop 3D printer (fused filament fabrication—get it?). If you need to see it to believe it, here is a video of the F-F-Fiddle in action:

Mastered the fiddle and interested in something a bit more exotic? How about the Open Theremin?

Open Theremin

Credit: Open.Theremin project CC-BY-SA 2.5

Like all theremins, Open Theremin lets you play music without touching the instrument. It is, of course, especially good at making creepy space sounds for your next sci-fi video or space-themed party.

The Waft operates similarly by allowing you to control sounds remotely. It uses Lidar to measure the distance of your hand from the sensor. Check it out:

Waft Prototype 12-Feb-2017 from Audio Morphology on Vimeo.

Is the Waft a theremin? I’m not sure - theremin pedants should weigh in below.

If theremins are too well known for you, SIGNUM may be just what you are looking for. In the words of its developers SIGNUM “uncovers the encrypted codes of information and the language of man/machine communication” by turning invisible wireless communications into audible signals.

SINNUM Credit: Victor Mazon Gardoqui CC 4.0 BY-SA

Here it is in action:

SIGNUM_Portable Analog Instrumentation Amplifier from Víctor Mazón Gardoqui on Vimeo.


Regardless of what instrument you use, you will need to plug it into something. If you want that something to be a Raspberry Pi, try the AudioSense-Pi, which allows you to connect multiple inputs and outputs to your Pi at once.


Image: CC0


What about synthesizers? SparkFun’s SparkPunk Sound Kit is a simple synth that gives you lots of room to play.


Credit: Sparkfun CC BY 2.0


Making all this music is great, but you also need to think about how you will listen to it. Fortunately, EQ-1 headphones are open source and 3D-printable.


Credit: 3D Central CC BY-SA 3.0

Are you making music with open source hardware? Let us know in the comments!

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