Music Thing Modular: Mikrophonie
Mikrophonie is a very simple contact mic module made by one of our favorite open source hardware creators - Music Thing Modular. There is a small piezo disk mounted behind the 4hp panel, or you can plug in an external mic (they’re very easy to make).
The panel is PCB with no soldermask. The raw PCB fibreglass has quite a nice rough texture – rubbing it with a finger or a plectrum creates quite a wide range of sounds. The back of the panel is plated and grounded for shielding.
The mic will also pick up all the physical sounds in your modular – patching, cables rustling, switches, fingers on knobs – without picking up airborne sounds i.e. the sound your modular is making. At very high sound levels will pick up vibrations from the speaker output and start to feedback.
It is an easy way to bring environmental noise and feedback into a modular system, inspired by the early days of electroacoustic music in Paris and Cologne, and by the contact microphone and phonograph cartridge experiments of John Cage, Gordon Mumma, Robert Ashley and Nicholas Collins. Here is a wonderful film from 1966 of Stockhausen & Co performing Mikrophonie 1.