ArtsEngine is a U-M program based on North Campus that promotes durable collaborations between arts, design, engineering, and technology. Students on the ArtsEngine project will create a media-integrative 21st century expressive instrument by re-imagining and re-designing a vintage analog musical instrument – a Hammond M3 organ.

Can a musical instrument be re-imagined and re-designed to integrate state-of-the-art technologies, while remaining true to the original intent behind its creation? When invented in 1934, Lauren Hammond integrated state-of-the-art technologies with a traditional keyboard interface to create an electronic organ that rivaled the sound palette of the pipe organ. In 2020, how can advances in electronics, digital signal processing, sound shaping and design take advantage of the keyboard/sound design interface of the Hammond organ? Furthermore, can such an instrument be further modified to support multimedia artistic expression?

A Hammond M3 organ has been donated to the audio studios in the Duderstadt Center at the University of Michigan. Three years ago, a team of students began to restore the M3 to working order. Last year, a team of MDP students expanded upon their work, but was interrupted by the pandemic. Upon returning to UM F20, this MDP team will extend the Hammond-organ interface to support artistic expression in multiple modalities. It is expected that the new team for Hammond 21, will incorporate their efforts into a fully functional restored organ console. Many facets of engineering, design, and creativity are at play including the opportunity to model alternative keyboard solutions found in the Stearns collection. It is expected that the final product will be a unique resource for artists and performers at the University of Michigan.

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