Get ready to hear some music — just not on any instruments you’ve ever seen.

There won’t be any guitars or drums onstage at tonight's New Interfaces for Musical Expression concert. In their place are one-of-a-kind instruments, created and played by graduate students at New York University who have been studying how to use technology in music

“They use small computers that fit into everyday objects, like light and temperature sensors,” says professor Greg Shakar, who leads the class and will emcee the concert. 

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Items that can be found in your house, like tuning forks and radios, can all be repurposed into instruments like the Copper Urchin, which could be played by stroking its “sensory whiskers.” One of the instruments in Wednesday's concert will use transistor radios, says Jason Sigal, a creative tech at NYU working on the show, “so it will be like a live radio broadcast.”

The music is also composed by the students, at the same time as they are inventing their instruments. “It happens together; it’s what makes for effective performances,” says Shakar. “You learn what your instrument can do, and that in turn decides what the music is.” 

While some of the performers have musical backgrounds, others have never been on a stage before. “The majority would probably say they are non-musicians,” says T.K. Broderick, another tech who is helping with the show.

“Those are the people that I encourage to take the course," he adds. "It helps to reimagine music and how live music can be more accessible.”


New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Dec. 16, 8 p.m.
Bell House, 149 Seventh St., Brooklyn
Tickets: $10