Images of Guthman Competition instruments in hexagon shapes, arranged like a wasp nest.

Guthman Musical Instrument Competition
2023 Finalists

Guthman Musical Instrument Competition
2023 Finalists

The 2023 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition started with submissions from instrument makers from all over the world.

Nine innovators from six countries have advanced to the competition's final round. They met on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, Georgia on March 10 and 11, 2023, to compete for $11,000 in prizes.

2023 Finalists

Meet the nine Guthman Musical Instrument Competition finalists. Each finalist and their instrument has a compelling story — these are the world's next generation of musical instruments.


Elias Jarzombek - United States

Just like an abacus is used to learn the fundamentals of math, the Abacusynth can be used to explore the building blocks of synthesis and timbre. Users learn how to blend sounds to create complex tones as they play with the spinning blocks to control the pitch and volume of the synthesized tones. The Abacusynth presents classic synthesis concepts in a playful layout that encourages experimentation.

Active Shoulder Rests (ASRs) for Violin

Violin ASR Project - United States

The majority of violinists use a shoulder rest attached to the instrument to play. The Active Shoulder Rests (ASRs) for violin add a new musical component to this common accessory. The ASRs extend the sound and performance abilities of the violin by adding actuators and speakers. Like pickups that amplify an electric guitar, the ASR's pickups amplify and transform the sound of a violin. 

Chaos Bells

Lia Mice - United Kingdom

Chaos Bells explores the possibilities of a large 2 meter by 2 meter electronic instrument. Chaos Bells made up of 20 pendulums augmented by embedded accelerometer that features bell-like tones and chaotic drones. There are multiple playing styles that produce different sonic results. The performer can strike the pendulums or frame for short tones or tilt the pendulums for long drones.


Stefan Licheri - Venezuela

The Grillophone explores the possibilities of an object that was not originally conceived as a musical instrument - a grill. The Grillophone features strings and playable bars which are amplified like an electric guitar. The strings and metal bars can also be connected to synthesizers and digital instruments allowing for endless sonic opportunities. Unlike many instruments, the Grillophone has changeable fretboards which means it can easily be played in any tuning system.


Andrea Martelloni, Andrew McPherson, and Mathieu Barthet - United Kingdom

The HiTAR elevates the use of the guitar's body as a percussive element. The HiTAR is an augmented instrument that uses an acoustic guitar as its base and has embedded sensors to capture a performer's gestures and hits. The body of the guitar and the captured gestures of the player are connected using machine learning, and the sound from striking the body is transformed to resemble sounds on different surfaces like metal or glass. This allows the performer to organically explore additional gestures and sounds to accompany the traditional performance of a guitar. 


Patricia Cadavid H. - Columbia-Spain

The Kanchay_Yupana// is a tangible sequencer, inspired by the Andean Yupana, an ancient board math system similar to an abacus used since pre-colonial times. This instrument brings electronic rhythm sequencing into the physical world by arranging seeds on a specially designed board with boxes and holes. The position of the seeds is detected with light sensors that send real-time motion data to a virtual drum machine which triggers percussion samples of Andean instruments. 

Sensor 32

Karl Gerber - Germany

Sensor32 is a multidimensional sensor instrument comprised of 32 proximity sensors. Where many electronic instruments use handheld interfaces, Sensor32 brings the full body into the performance. The performer (or multiple performers) shapes the sound output by waving their hands and feet across the sensors. The sensor input controls 32 programmable music parameters allowing for novel and expressive sounds. 

The Terpsichora Pressure-Sensitive Floors

Iran Sanadzadeh and Sebastian Collen - Australia

The terpsichora pressure-sensitive floors (The Floors) are a set of wooden platforms with sensors which respond to movement and pressure. The performer controls the musical output by re-distributing their body weight across the pressure-sensitive floors. The floors can be pieced together in many patterns, and the sensor output can be mapped to many musical features. 

Zen Flute

Keith Baxter - United States

The Zen Flute is a riff on the theremin, a classic electronic musical instrument controlled by a performer's waving hands. The Zen Flute is a mouth theremin that maps the pressure and shape of a performer's mouth to the pitch output. The Zen Flute operates much like whistling, and with its simple design, it increases the accessibility of music-making. 

Get the Inside Scoop on Music Technology

Learn about our Guthman Musical Instrument Competition, the inventors we feature every year, and the music technology research and degree programs at the Georgia Tech School of Music. We will inspire your creativity and expand your perspectives on music!

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At the Georgia Tech School of Music, our students combine technical skill with exceptional music talent to truly change the way the world experiences music. Learn more about our bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in music technology, our pre-college summer studio, and our innovative research labs.


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