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Fusing music, engineering and tech, the annual Georgia Tech Margaret Guthman New Instrument Competition aims to identify what may be the musical instruments of the future on March 9. This year’s contest includes 14 finalists from seven countries who are revving up to unveil their innovative designs to a panel of judges.

Georgia Tech’s School of Music has made waves in the development of innovative degrees that combine disciplines of music and technology, and it has drawn international attention in the field through research and events like the Guthman Competition for new musical instrument design, which judges contestants on the musicality, design, engineering and impact of their creation.

ARTS ATL previously sat down with Jason Freeman, composer and chair of School of Music at Georgia Tech, to discuss the importance of student understanding of music technology beyond the basics of simply standing behind the desk in a recording studio.

The QJin, created by Qianqian Jin and one of the finalists of this year’s competition, is a customized MIDI controller for a Guzheng — a Chinese classical zither — with a built-in amplification system.

“It’s really about defining what the next generation of music products are,” Freeman said. “Products that professional musicians use to make, edit and disseminate music, to learn about music and to teach music.”

This year’s contest is free and open to the public, stimulating curiosity and pushing the boundaries of instrument creation. The Margaret Guthman New Instrument Competition is part of the Atlanta Science Festival, which runs through March 23

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