2012 Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition

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The Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition is an annual event to find the world’s best new ideas in musicality, design, and engineering.

Final performances will be webcast live at www.gtcmt.gatech.edu/guthman2012. No log-on is required, and the site will feature live chat and segments from preliminary performances.

Attendance is free with online RSVP here.

The preliminary schedule follows:

Thursday, February 16: Preliminary performances, 9:20 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, February 17:

  • Preliminary Performances, 9:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. 
  • Announcement of Finalists, 2:00 p.m. 
  • Final Performances, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 
  • Reception and Awards, 8:30 p.m.

“We want the competition to be the place to see, experience and engage the future of music,” said Gil Weinberg, Director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. “It’s also a platform for bringing like-minded inventors and composers together from all over the world to have their ideas judged by a preeminent panel of independent experts.”

Instruments will be judged on musicality, design and engineering by an expert panel including Atau Tanaka, media artist and researcher, and Cyril Lance, chief engineer at electronic musical instrument manufacturer Moog Music.

On his approach to judging the competition, Tanaka explained, “There is a disruptive power in questioning traditional musical  roles of authorship and performance. Through this questioning, the basic tenets of musical instrumentality come to light.”

In total, $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the most exciting novel musical instruments and presented by Tech alumnus Richard Guthman in honor of his musician wife, Margaret.

Twenty-four inventors, composers and designers from nine countries were selected to compete, from more than 50 entries.  For a taste of the kinds of instruments that will be presented in the competition, here are four examples from this year’s entrant pool:

  • Resistor JelTone, a partially edible toy piano by Brooklyn-based hacker collective, NYC Resistor;
  • Audio Cube, a set of smart light-emitting blocks for music creation designed by Bert Schiettecatte of Belgium (with competition performance by Colorado-based electronic musician Mark Mosher).
  • Hyperkeys, a keyboard, with keys that move in-and-out as well as up-and-down, by Jeff Tripp; and
  • Audio Skin, incorporating on-body textiles in a sculptural and performative musical instrument, by Vienna, Austria-based Martin Rille.

Past competitions have hosted a broad range of inventions, including last year’s winner, MO, by Interlude Consortium, the software that explores novel gestural interfaces for musical expression with everyday objects; and second prize winner MindBox Media Slot Machine, by German group Humatic Berlin, a vintage slot machine with an unexpected modern twist on the age-old tradition of canon composition.

Parking for the Klaus Advanced Computing Building is available in the State Street Visitor’s Lot at the intersection of Ferst Drive and State Street on campus. The cost is $1.50 per hour, payable by cash or card in advance. 

Walking from the State Street Visitor’s Parking Lot: From the entrance to the visitor’s parking lot, head east on Ferst Drive walking toward Atlantic Drive. Turn right on Atlantic Drive and the College of Computing building is the second on the left. Walk through the courtyard and then through the breezeway between the College of Computing Building and the Microelectronics Research Building. Walk across the Binary Bridge over to the Klaus Building.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Nicole Little
  • Created:08/26/2011
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016


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