Daily Challenge: Gizmophone

Welcome to the #LoopAtHome weekend. Every day, we’re inviting you to take part in a music-making challenge. 

Have you ever constructed a contraption, whipped up a widget, designed a doohickey, thrown together a thingamajig? For our first challenge of the weekend, we invite you to do just that. We want you to grab some junk that’s lying around your house, and build a brand new musical instrument the likes of which the world has never seen! Let’s call it . . . a Gizmophone.

It might not be finished, it certainly won’t be perfect, maybe it’ll only make one annoying sound for 30 seconds before ending its life completely. But it will be a new, one-of-a-kind instrument, and you will be the world's only virtuoso player. What strange new rhythms will be generated by the Coat-Hanger Auto-Rotorvator? What fresh tonal palettes lie in wait for the player of the Gardenhose Trombone?

There’ll be plenty of time for you to tinker and refine your creation in the future. For today, what’s important is that you finish it to the point where it makes a noise that you can record and share with Loop’s community of music-makers.

Get Inspired

Follow in the esteemed footsteps of pioneers like Percy Grainger and Daphne Oram. Modern instrument builders like Koka Nikoladze and Alice Eldridge see no boundary between making instruments and creating music. Noise makers like Helen Leigh and Ernie Althoff make their devices with fun and playfulness in mind.

Build your Gizmophone

Explore your house, apartment, shed, cellar or garage. Investigate the tonal properties of cans, cutlery, cardboard boxes, rubber bands, pipes, chopsticks, garden hoses and jars of unidentifiable dried beans. How could these items be combined into something playable? 

Consider everything. Your electric toothbrush? Your old school recorder? That wind-up clockwork chicken? If you know how to solder or code – go nuts and mount a pickup on a brake disc or teach a robot to play pot-lids. 

But it doesn’t have to be high-tech, or even finished. Use the skills you’ve acquired and the stuff you have to hand, have some fun, make a mess, and create something.

Share the Noise

When your Gizmophone is ready, record a video of your creation doing its thing, make some one-shot samples or devices in your DAW, or even create a full track from its sounds.

Then join us, share your sounds and discuss your process with your fellow music makers. We'll be checking the hashtag #LoopAtHome on all the usual social channels.

You can exchange and discuss creations via Metapop, or post comments via Facebook or Twitter. In all cases, you'll be leaving the Ableton Loop Website, so do consider your privacy, which will be covered by the policies of those providers (details below). We'll be there to moderate discussions, and you can always reach out by email to loop@support.ableton.com if you need support.

Join the discussion on Metapop (also read Metapop's Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions)

Join the discussion on Facebook (also read Facebook's Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions)

Join the discussion on Twitter (also read Twitter's Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions)

Please also read Loop’s Code of Conduct here >

Hear the Noise

See the first collection of Gizmophones made during the challenge on YouTube, and in the Friday challenge tracklist of Loop’s Music-Making Weekend Metapop group. Submissions are still coming in, so feel free to join!