Women in Electronic Instrument Design

I am compiling a list of people to contact or research for my thesis. Here’s what I have so far (presented in no particular order). Instruments are differentiated by whether the design in question produces sound signal through any means. Interfaces are designs which serve to control, trigger, or process sound from external sources. This list includes instruments based in both hardware and software which produce or control sound. For individuals with extensive work, I have not included all instruments or interfaces, but rather those which seemed particularly notable. Some names are included with no further details, as specific details of their designs are particularly hard to locate still (feel free to message me if you have more information on their work or if you know of other who should be included here). I encourage you to email me (cstamper (at symbol) mills (dot) edu) if you have any insights!
  • Jessica Rylan

(Flower Electronics)

Instruments: Little Boy Blue, Jealous Heart, Battery Powered Noise Generator, Personal Synthesizer.

  • Amanda Ghassaei:

Instruments: ambient synthesis, glitchbox, vocal effects box,

Interfaces: multitouch, sugarcube

  • Kaori Suzuki:

(Magic Echo Music)

Instruments: GEM MKII, Palette, Palette V2, CEM8

Interfaces: CICCS (Custom Interface for Computer Controlled Serge)

  • Carla Scaletti

Instruments: Kyma

  • Lori Napoleon:

(Meridian7)

Repurposed telephone switchboard interfaces and instruments. Circuit bent electronics/ MFOs circuits,

Instruments: voice changer, comb filter oscillator, synthesizer

Interfaces: sequencer

  • Laetitia Sonami:

Interfaces: Lady’s Glove

  • Laurie Spiegel:

Instruments: Music Mouse

  • Ellen Fullman:

Technically not electronic, but the design process alone merits inclusion in this research, along with collaboration with electronics.

Instruments: Long String Instrument

  • Cynthia Webster:

Instruments: Zeroscillator, Sawtooth Animator,

Interfaces: Synthacon Filter, Super Psycho LFO, Rhythmic and Prime Dividers, Four Filters, Octal VCA

  • Laurie Anderson:

It should be noted that, while Anderson clearly had a hand in the design process, the electronic circuitry and construction of these instruments was primarily the work of Bob Bielecki

Instruments: Tape Bow Violin

Interfaces: Talking Stick

  • Björk Guðmundsdóttir:

Instruments commissioned for Biophilia.

Instruments: Gameleste, Musical Tesla Coils

(A Guide to Björk’s Custom Biophilia Instruments)

  • Christina Kubisch

Instruments: Electrical Walks, Sound Sculptures

  • Kaffe Matthews

Interfaces: Sonic Bed

  • Daphne Oram:

Instruments: Oramics System

  • Pauline Oliveros: 

Instruments: Expanded Instrument System, Adaptive Use Musical Instruments

  • Brenda Hutchinson

Instruments: Long Tube, Soundrawing

  • Frankie Mann

Designs and constructs electronic instruments and sound producing circuits. More information needed.

  • Ute Wasserman

Polyphonic vocal processing and harmonic generation. Unsure of means.

  • Krys Bobrowski

Again, hard to find info. I was able to find some information about her acoustic instrument designs, including a Kelp Horn, but little else was available. She mentions electronics design in interviews.

  • Bebe Baron

Little information is available on her involvement in the design process or construction. It’s clear that Louis was the primary designer of circuits, but it’s rumored that Bebe herself played a larger part in the design process than generally assumed. 

  • Holly Herndon

Vocal processing/ generative synthesis. Unsure of means.