“Vic”: The Victorian Synthesizer (2022)

The Victorian Synthesizer is a simple electro-acoustic instrument design from Nicholas Collins’ book Handmade Electronic Music. For this build I enclosed it in a box purchased at a thrift store around 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. The instrument works by using the alligator clips to close the circuit between battery and speaker, clicking the speaker.

To play the instrument, simply connect the alligator clips to a conductive material (coin, guitar string, paper clips, etc). The more varied the surface, the better. Moving the clips along the material and pressing it to the speaker holes results in low clicks and sporadic high chirps. Additionally, you can open the box and place objects on top of the speaker, resulting in a more muffled but unique rumbling timbre. Finally, carefully pressing the clips against the speaker itself can result in various electronic tones, produced via an acoustic feedback process.

To build the instrument:

For more details, this video was helpful for me.