Circuit Bending

What Does Circuit Bending Mean?

Circuit bending is a phenomenon that applies technology to the practice of creating music or sound art. It refers to changing a sound by making alterations to a circuit in an electronic device.


Techopedia Explains Circuit Bending

Most types of circuit bending are done on a DIY basis, where musicians use old children’s toys, sound equipment or other consumer products to achieve different types of sound. In many cases, those who are doing circuit bending alter a device or product by connecting two different circuit locations, which changes how the charge is sent on a circuit board. When these are attached to speakers, this often results in an interesting sound combination. Those experimenting with circuit bending may mark this successful result and try to emulate it later.

It is important to think about electrical safety during these kinds of unguided alterations to electronic products. Changing circuitry can cause a short or other problems, which is why circuit bending is more of a DIY phenomenon than something explicitly endorsed by musical or artistic institutions or businesses (for example, "circuit bending kits" or other similar items are not marketed by companies).

Circuit bending has been a part of the noise music or surreal sound art scene, but it is also done in some other musical genres.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…