This obsolete typewriter plays some sweet music

Maker duo Lasse Munk and Søren Andreasen have created a musical typewriter that transforms ordinary sentences into sound. 

Known as D.O.R.T.H.E (short for Danish Orchestra of Radios Talking and Hacked Engines), the platform is constructed out of old, discarded electronics.


In essence, D.O.R.T.H.E. can be thought of as an electronic music box — with each word acting as a pin to create a sound or tone. Every letter on the typewriter is essentially a trigger, as these letters are connected to an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280). The data is then analyzed, where the software then processes and translates it into a musical sequence.

More specifically, D.O.R.T.H.E. transforms the number of letters in a word to a certain music pitch, although the platform is also capable of dealing with basic emotional states such as joy, discomfort, fear and happiness.

“She [D.O.R.T.H.E.] is amazingly well connected speaking several languages with which she controls a number of mechanical machines build almost entirely out of scrap electronics,” the team writes.


“For starters we matched simple words and sentences like the ‘dorthe gives us a fresh beat’ on the video and made a semantic map so that: ‘fresh + beat’ must mean uptempo combined with some kinky nice danceable melody work,” explained Munk, one of its co-creators. “The tonal material for melodies can be quite random at the moment.”

D.O.R.T.H.E. is all about recycling, recycling words into music, the team emphasizes. Recycle electronics and turn them into instruments.

Interested in learning more about D.O.R.T.H.E.? You can check out the project’s official page here. And, don’t forget to browse through our Bits & Pieces archive on musical creations from electronic waste!


3 thoughts on “This obsolete typewriter plays some sweet music

  1. Pingback: Turning a 1930s typewriter into a social networking device | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  2. Pingback: Rewind: 27 Maker musical masterpieces from 2014 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s