2009… a year of Bird Songs


by Creme DeMentia

As 2009 drew to a close, all I could think about was… TAKING DOWN THE BIRD CALENDAR!  OK, I would have ripped it down months ago, had I not promised my girlfriend that it would remain up until the year ended.  So, I, of course, went directly to my computer after making said promise and ordered another from the Internet.

The calendar is Bird Songs 2009, adapted from the book Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song by Les Beletsky.

From what I understand, people that have attempted to circuit bend the book have not had much luck finding a pitch bend, but I found that the calendar was very easy to circuit bend.  The video explains fairly clearly what’s going on, but for posterity’s sake, I will record it here as well:

I assembled a GetLoFi.com 555 Oscillator Kit and used it to trigger the birdsongs on this calendar’s sound strip; the kit has the 555 and components configured so that you can adjust the rate of the oscillator. There is a resistor on the circuit board of the calendar’s sound strip that can be replaced with potentiometers to control the pitch of the birdsongs.  Pitch can be controlled independently of the oscillator rate, so that the birdsongs can be triggered over and over quickly or slowly at both high and low pitches.  There are added body contacts connected to the calendar’s pitch circuit for expression, one contact in particular is the   ramp wave output from the 555 for a warble at the rate of the oscillator.

So ask around and maybe someone you know or someone near you is taking down this very calendar and wondering what to do with it – you should help them decide how best to recycle it. Why, you could even detach the sound strip and send it to me with your mailing address – the senders of the first 10 working Bird Songs 2009 Calendar Sound Strips I receive will be sent a free Bottle-Cap Contact Microphone!

Crème DeMentia

PO Box 116

DeKalb, IL 60115

Have a Happy 2010!  Coming Soon: LOTS of videos of Circuit Bent Performances from November/December 2009.