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The project received funding because:

The strength of the project is its gradual development, involving high-level professionals, from developers all the way to practitioners. This infuses the project with a thought-provoking and thorough process that can stimulate a broad professional study leading to an audience’s experience of the specific results:

The results will be presented in the form of a concert and showcase to both the public and professionals. The products will be made available on the market by means of publications introducing stakeholders to the various processes and results. It is quite likely that professional musical breakthroughs will emerge that could make an exciting contribution to the music market and the ongoing research into the area.

About the project:

  • A project of hybrid lutherie; instrument craftsmanship at the interface of the material and the digital
  • Augmented instruments enable the expansion of traditional music instruments with electronic sounds and interactivity
  • A dynamic network of academic researchers, freelance craftspersons, and frontline artists

The project is directed at the musician community at large, both professional and amateur, acoustic and electronic, as well as to audio enthusiasts, sound engineers, and people interested in pioneering technologies in the audio domain.

The project views the HANDMADE theme as a contemporary issue and includes under this title a range of artisanal activities such as custom analogue electronics buildings, computer programming for specific applications, sonic interaction design as well as traditional instrument craftsmanship.

Acoustically Active Augmented Instruments constitutes a pilot project for bringing together acoustic lutherie, electronics, computer programming, and interactive design in order to create new types of hybrid musical instruments. Electronic sounds are driven into the physical structures of acoustic instruments via structure-borne sound drivers, enabling the coexistence of acoustic and electronic sounds within a single instrument, bypassing external speakers and audio gear. For example, an acoustically active guitar builds a layer of electronic enhancements and alterations on top of the instrument’s acoustic sound, the whole soundscape radiating directly from the instrument itself.

Sensor technology can be implemented in the instrument, enabling user interactivity with the electronically generated or processed sounds. Acoustically Active Instruments is a project at the crossroads of the physical and the digital, bridging musical instrument craftsmanship, acoustics, signal processing, and physical computing, all approached as artisanal activities centered on individual craft. Active Acoustics is an emergent field combining the ancestral art of lutherie with the latest audio technologies and physical computing in order to create pioneering hybrid instruments. The project’s aim is to unite experts from the different fields of specialisation required for the design, implementation, and construction of Active Acoustic Augmented instruments in order to achieve the “critical mass” for developing professional concert instruments within the project’s two-year span.

The project has a precise public dissemination plan comprising five elements: 1) Audio enthusiast communities reached via web communication and music technology fairs 2) Larger public reached via concerts 3) Dissemination to the Art-Technology cluster via Media Art festivals 4) Scientific publications for the research community 5) Workshops for students.

The Nordic collaboration:

Finland, Denmark, and Norway

The project implements a Nordic network of experts in the fields of musical instrument craftsmanship, electronics, computer programming, and interactive design. The countries involved are Finland, Denmark, and Norway and the network members come from academic research

institutions, from the freelance artisan fields as well as from the artistic domain.


  • Otso Lähdeoja, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland,
  • Daniel Overholt, Associate Professor, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Cumhur Erkut, Associate Professor, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Alexander Refsum Jensenius, Associate Professor, Head of Department of Musicology, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Juhana Nyrhinen, Luthier, Tampere, Finland
  • Michael Edinger, Luthier, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Petri Kumela, Concert Guitarist, Senior Lecturer, Metropolia University for Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland

Total budget: 661 802 DKK
Applied for: 562 402 DKK    
Approved grant: 450 000 DKK
Project period: 01.01.2017-31.12.2018    

Special pool earmarked for HANDMADE in 2016

This project was supported by a Special pool earmarked for HANDMADE in 2016. Normally, the Fund caps applications at DKK 500,000 and 50% of total project budget, however, HANDMADE 2016 invited projects to apply for amounts ranging from DKK 500,000 to DKK 1 million and up to 85% of total project costs.

The assessment criteria were: HANDMADE aims to promote and stimulate handicrafts and handmade design by encouraging new Nordic and international partnerships and to help raise the visibility and profile of a wide range of handmade art forms and idioms. The spotlight is on projects that:

  • contribute to the development and visibility of handmade design and that focus on free, experimental and conceptual aspects
  • help challenge and break down traditional boundaries for handmade arts, crafts and design
  • include individuals or organisations from other disciplines and artistic genres.

The Fund’s general criteria about Nordic substance, quality, support and impact also applied.

Christina Zetterlund from Sweden and Mari Savio from Finland acted as expert advisors. The Board of the Nordic Culture Fund made the final decision on which projects to fund.

From 2017, HANDMADE will be part of the Fund’s general programmes of project funding and OPSTART. Read more about the programmes under “Apply for funding”.

Photo credits: Nathan Thomson