17 Mar 2021
The Guitar Developed by ITU TMSC Academics is the World Champion
Lego Microtonal Guitar developed by Istanbul Technical University (ITU) Turkish Music State Conservatory faculty member Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu from an idea of his 10-year-old son Atlas together with İTÜ MİAM PhD student Ruşen Can Acet won first place in the audience voting at Georgia Tech 2021 Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Design Competition.
News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office
Introductory videos of 29 instruments that made it to this year’s finals in Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Design Competition organized by Georgia Tech every year were opened to the world for voting in the university’s website in November. After a month-long voting, it was announced that the Lego Microtonal Guitar won the People's Choice Award, one of the four awards in the competition.
ITU Turkish Music State Conservatory faculty member Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu, who had developed the adjustable microtonal guitar at the Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MİAM) in 2008, crowned his guitar design project with an award.
Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu, who initiated the world’s first microtonal guitar graduate program under the Music Program at ITU in 2014, started the design of a fretboard called “Lego Microtonal Guitar” made of Lego in 2018. Lego Microtonal Guitar, which was created from an idea of his 10-year-old son Atlas Çoğulu, allows playing koma sounds as well as full and half sounds.
"We Made Atlas’s Dream Come True”
Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu expressed that they were very happy about the success of the guitar, which they designed based on an idea given by his 10-year-old son Atlas Çoğulu and which attracted worldwide attention.
Çoğulu thanked everyone who supported them during the voting and said, "In fact, our aim was not to win the competition. We put our effort into something that we are happiest with. We made Atlas's idea, his dream come true. We wanted this to be heard. Even making it to the finals was very joyous for us. We became very happy when we came first in the audience voting to top it all. Endless thanks to everyone who voted."
Tolgahan Çoğulu had designed the “adjustable microtonal guitar” in 2008 with the support of ITU Scientific Research Project. The guitar, which allows Turkish music to be performed with its real sounds, had a great repercussion in the world. Çoğulu, who participated in the competition of Georgia Tech in 2014 with the guitar, won first place.
We congratulate our faculty member Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu for the "Lego Microtonal Guitar" project, which started in 2018 and spanned two years, together with ITU MİAM Sound Engineering department’s PhD student Ruşen Can Acet, who also has a great share in realizing the project, and Atlas Çoğulu, the progenitor of the idea.
About Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu
Our faculty member Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu, who had developed the adjustable microtonal guitar at ITU MİAM in 2008, initiated the world’s first microtonal guitar graduate program under the Music Program at ITU in 2014. Çoğulu worked on a research project entitled “Historical Tunings on Microtonal Guitar” and gave seminars at the University of Bristol throughout 2016. Çoğulu has been giving concerts and seminars in 34 countries with the microtonal guitar since 2008, and his project entitled “Creating and Presenting a Repertoire for the Microtonal Guitar” carried out in collaboration with University of Music Würzburg between 2015-2017 was supported by DAAD. In this project, 12 composers wrote pieces for the microtonal guitar and ensemble. In 2016, he organized the world’s first Microtonal Guitar Competition. In 2018, the microtonal guitar method book he co-authored with Fernando Perez was published in Spain. His solo microtonal guitar album Microtonal was published by Ahenk Music. Prof. Dr. Çoğulu, is currently teaching classical and microtonal guitar at ITU Turkish Music State Conservatory and MİAM.
About Ruşen Can Acet
Ruşen Can Acet, who is also a mechanical engineer (M.Sc.), is currently pursuing his doctoral education in ITU Center for Advanced Studies in Music in the field of Sound Engineering. Meşk Tech. Co. founded by him went on the stage among the first 20 enterprises in BigBang 2019 organized by ITU Teknokent. In his mechanical engineering senior project he investigated sound properties of gourd violin (kabak kemane) he produced out of composite materials and took the first place in the senior project competition organized by the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers. His interest in music started at a young age with playing the gourd violin. Later, instrument making and sound engineering became of interest to him. He took part in many albums and projects and attended various concerts in and outside Turkey. Ruşen Can Acet is also a fellow of “OneBeat” music project, which is an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
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