LEGOs have made their appearance in numerous aspects of life, and music — not so surprisingly — is one of them. However, in an area where it was previously unexplored, a father and son duo have come forward, with the formation of their LEGO microtonal guitar.
Microtonal music is the act of using tones in intervals that differ from the standard semitones of a tuning system or scale, and while they have also become present in Western music after composers started experimenting in structures soon after 1900, you'd probably hear them more often in Middle Eastern and Anatolian music.
Tolgahan Çoğulu is a musician known for his adjustable microtonal guitar which he invented to play such music, and he brought his 10-year-old son Atlas' fun guitar idea to life, and now, that LEGo microtonal guitar, has made it to the finals of the Georgia Tech University 2021 Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Design Competition, per Hürriyet Daily News.
Atlas is a musician just like his dad. After playing the piano for years, his next instrument to tackle was the guitar.
The 10-year-old was playing with his LEGOs when his father came to the room with his fretboard in tow, he explained the story of the LEGO microtonal guitar to TRT World. Struck with an idea, he made a copy of the fretboard and put it on top of the guitar, and they started building the guitar together.
First, they 3D printed a platform where LEGO pieces would be placed on. They determined the places where the notes and the microtones would be, and the LEGO pieces were the indicators of where the curtains would be.
Later, new pieces were 3D printed to the places where the microtones coincided, and the microtonal sounds were obtained on the keyboard, Hackaday reports.
Once the platform was assembled into a real guitar case, the strings were also connected. After that, the world's first LEGO microtonal guitar was finally ready to be played.
You can listen to Çoğulu and Atlas explaining the process in their own words and showcasing their musical talents down below:
Çoğulu states that learning how to play guitar can be simpler thanks to the removable LEGO frets.
Now, LEGO microtonal guitar is participating in the same competition Çoğulu took part in and became the world champion six years ago. Çoğulu said to Hürriyet Daily News, "In 2014 I joined that contest with my adjustable microtonal guitar. I played Aşık Veysel’s ‘Kara Toprak’ and won the world champion title. Six years later, Lego microtonal guitar is here thanks to Atlas. Now we got excited again when we made it to the finals. Maybe a world champion will come again."
You can vote for them and show your support here.