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Music Thing: Musical instruments made of Lego

Peter Rojas
Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

People have been building playable musical instruments from Lego for some time. Henry Lim's Lego Harpsichord and Brad's Lego Guitar have been written about many times, but they're only the start:

  • Robotic Glockenspiel Player: XILO is a slightly frightening-looking device which uses the Lego camera to watch the player and transfer his or her movements into real-time Glockenspiel playing: "With just a little practice, you can make XILO create beautiful music!"

  • Lego Dulcimer (pictured above): What is it with medieval instruments and Lego? Mountain Dulcimer enthusiast Peter Always built himself a bright yellow dulcimer with properly-spaced frets made of little grey tiles.

  • Lego MIDI Guitar: The 'Lifelong Kindergarten' group at MIT developed this lego-based system. The idea was that children could use special Lego components to build their own experimental instruments, which would work as MIDI controllers.

  • Lego ukelele

  • Robotic Ukulele Players: Mike and Jarvis' reggae-playing Ukulele robots were widely reported earlier this year, but they weren't the real pioneers. Bryant and Amelia got there in 2003, although theirs didn't play reggae.


  • Singing Lego Blocks: The Lego Mindstorms RCX block (the brain of the system) has a built in speaker, and this page explains in eye-watering detail how to make music with it. Remarkably, there doesn't seem to be a MIDI interface yet…

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