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Definition: circuit bending

Rewiring audio toys to make new sounds. It involves exposing the circuit board in a device such as a TI "Speak and Spell" or "Speak and Read" toy and short circuiting leads until an unusual sound is discovered. It all started by accident in 1966 when Reed Ghazala's 9v battery-powered amplifier shorted out in his high-school desk drawer. In 1992, he coined the name of this process for a series of articles in Experimental Musical Instruments magazine. Ghazala explains how to do your own circuit bending on his website where he also displays many of his modified instruments. For more information and samples of "Bent Sound," visit www.anti-theory.com/soundart.

The Incantor
This "circuit-bent" instrument is one of the more recognizable audio devices on Ghazala's website. Others are quite exotic! (Image courtesy of Reed Ghazala, www.anti-theory.com)