Music

Electric motors used as a sound source for bizarre organ

The motorgan is played by touching one or more of the instrument's 24 keys, which activates the motors used to generate the sounds
The motorgan is played by touching one or more of the instrument's 24 keys, which activates the motors used to generate the sounds
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Dmitry Morozov admits that the motorgan isn't the easiest of instruments to play
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Dmitry Morozov admits that the motorgan isn't the easiest of instruments to play
The motorgan is played by touching one or more of the instrument's 24 keys, which activates the motors used to generate the sounds
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The motorgan is played by touching one or more of the instrument's 24 keys, which activates the motors used to generate the sounds
Each key on the motorgan can be tuned using a voltmeter and 24 potentiometers
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Each key on the motorgan can be tuned using a voltmeter and 24 potentiometers
Electromagnetic fluctuations produced by the motors are picked up by a single coil guitar pickup and the signal output via a 0.25-inch audio jack
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Electromagnetic fluctuations produced by the motors are picked up by a single coil guitar pickup and the signal output via a 0.25-inch audio jack
Two cooling fans from computers and a geared electric motor provide the source for the sonic output
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Two cooling fans from computers and a geared electric motor provide the source for the sonic output
The motorgan has steel pipes to the rear, but they appear to be just for decoration
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The motorgan has steel pipes to the rear, but they appear to be just for decoration

Moscow-based media artist Dmitry Morozov has created some cool instruments over the years, including a machine that turned cable twists into eerie music and a synthesizer powered by his own blood. His latest project is a strange electromechanical organ called the motorgan that uses three different-sized DC motors to generate synth-like sounds.

The motorgan – motor and organ, geddit? – is designed around an Arduino Mega brain, two cooling fans from computers and a geared electric motor. A 24-key touch keyboard is split into three zones, one for each motor, and how fast the motor whirs away is determined by voltage changes.

Two cooling fans from computers and a geared electric motor provide the source for the sonic output
Two cooling fans from computers and a geared electric motor provide the source for the sonic output

Each key can be tuned using a voltmeter and 24 potentiometers, opening up numerous tune creation possibilities, with electromagnetic fluctuations produced by the motors being picked up by a single coil guitar pickup and the signal output via a 0.25-inch audio jack. There are steel pipes to the rear, but they appear to be just for decoration.

Morozov admits that the motorgan isn't the easiest of instruments to play, but synth-like chords and polyphonic progressions can be heard in the video demo below.

Source: Dmitry Morozov

::vtol:: motorgan

5 comments
owlbeyou
Very interesting sound effector, but it's hardly an organ. If he had played a simple tune with his art-gadget, it would be otherwise.
CraigAllenCorson
Crazy Russians. ;-)
Vernon Miles Kerr
Awesome Sci-Fi movie prop. I can see commander Spock in his quarters, in a trance, playing this thing. It's sufficiently weird-looking already to not need much prep for the shoot.
IvanWashington
OMG. :o
Expanded Viewpoint
There's absolutely NO tonal quality to it at all, just some weird noises that are not pleasing to the ear. It just sounds to me like a hash of digital square wave sounds, no artistry in it whatsoever. Maybe if he used more motors and used some kind of open air coupling between light bulbs and a photo detector to smooth the edges off, he could get an analog component into the thing. That might make it listenable. Randy