Two Saxophone Synthesizer Builds For The Price Of One

[Bruce Land] has been sending in student projects from the electronic design course he taught at Cornell last semester. By a curious coincidence, two groups build saxophone synthesizers with the same key arrangement as a real sax.

First up is [Brian Wang]’s digital sax. There’s a small microphone in the mouthpiece and a series of buttons down the body of the sax telling the ATMega664 what note to play. The data for the saxophone synthesis was created by looking at a frequency plot of a sax, bassoon, harp, and pipe organ. [Brian] has the synthesis part down pat; there’s definitely a baritone sax in that little microcontroller.

Next up is [Suryansh] and [Chris]’s PVC pipe saxophone. It’s the same general principle as [Brian]’s project – the musician blows into the sax (we really like the kazoo mouthpiece) and a small mic picks up the sound of the wind. If the microphone output is above a certain threshold, the buttons are read and a note come out of the sax. We’re picking up a whiff of alto sax here; shame there wasn’t a duet with the two teams.

After the break you can see both saxophone projects in all their glory.


3 thoughts on “Two Saxophone Synthesizer Builds For The Price Of One

  1. Hide those wires don’t use tape. The label from plumbing store is still on side. We were graded on neatness as well content.
    Bundle up or use multi-conductor wire. Extreme ugly. Exposed chip awaits static zap.
    The mic approach is only on-off, so might as well be a switch. The real EWI’s use a air pressure sensor, and a settable air resistance that you blow against. I have one of those blood pressure home-medic sensors I want to hack into a breath sensor for my Yamaha synth, which needs 0-5v to run.

  2. Like most kids today, they need to work on not saying “um”, “uh”, or “err” every other word.

    It would lower their dork rating by a magnitude or three.

    Back in the olden days, speaking in class was actually taught, practiced, and graded.

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