Guthman Competition instruments in hexagon crops.

The 2024 Winners

The 2024 Winners

The Guthman Musical Instrument Competition celebrates the best new ideas in music, design, and engineering. This year, ten finalists competed for prizes awarded by a panel of judges and by popular vote. Meet this year’s winners.

1st Place: VocalCords

Max Addae - United States

By using three rubber cords, singers can use VocalCords to augment and modify their voices in real time. Manipulating the cords by hand is intended to bring the relationship between touch and sound, shared by many musical instruments, to the singing voice.

"One of the reasons we chose this for first place is that it was a beautifully simple concept, with deep richness underneath it," said Kelly Snook.

2nd Place: The Babel Table

Jean-François Laporte – Canada

The Babel Table uses multiple arrangements of latex membranes and compressed air to produce a variety of voices, from deep percussive effects to electronic-like chirping. The instrument, originally made for a children's project called Babaloune, is designed to capture the attention of children and represent different characters in the project.

“We chose the Babel Table because instantly when you see it and hear it, you understand what it is," said Bosko Kante.

3rd Place: Thales

Nicola Privato – Italy

Thales allow users to make music by interacting with magnetic fields, using controllers containing magnets and multiple sensors.

"It seems like an instrument that has a real future ahead of it in terms of different kinds of music making," said Andrew McPherson.

People's Choice
Honorable Mention for Education:

Winning People's Choice, in honor of Charlie Rogers and Margaret Rogers Abercrombie, and an Honorable Mention for Education, the Sonògraf is an audiovisual instrument designed as a music learning tool for primary schools. Performers make music using drawing and collage, which are captured by a camera and transformed into sound.

“We wanted to bring children an accessible and fun way of composing music through drawing and collage.”


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