The Mid (23rd) Century Modern Beauty of Musical Instruments in Star Trek #SciFiSunday

Star Trek has given the world many iconic designs. Tricorders, phasers, the Klingon Bird of Prey, 3D chess, and the Enterprise itself are all excellent designs, at once functional, beautiful, and culture-specific. Star Trek even knows how to do futuristic and alien musical instruments. Here’s more from S. Astrid Bin at Sci-Fi Interfaces:

What struck me the most about these instruments is that how they worked didn’t ever seem to enter into the mind of the person who dreamed them up. This sure is a departure for me, as I’ve spent more than ten years designing instruments and worrying about the subtleties of sensors, signal processing, power requirements, material response, fabrication techniques, sound design, and countless other factors that come into play when you make novel digital musical instruments. The instruments in Star Trek struck me as anarchic, because it was clear the designers didn’t consider at all how they would work, or, if they did, they just weren’t concerned. Some examples: Tiny instruments make enormous sounds. Instruments are “telepathic”. Things resonate by defying the laws of physics. Some basic sound design is tossed in at the end, and bam, job done.

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