Around December 2003, I discovered the Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments, and got it in my head that I should learn to make music boxes. What little information I was able to turn up on this archaic process proved to be too involved for the purposes of that year’s gift-giving, so I defaulted to an electrical solution, based in part on a project I had been working on in school the previous semester.

     The project was a talking clock, designed to speak the time at the push of a button. I used the knowledge of IC-based audio playback that I gained in completing this project to build a simple circuit that would play a song of my choice when a switch was triggered.

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     From there it was simply a matter of tracking down a box big enough to house my cobbled together mechanism while managing to appear ‘Christmas-y.’ There’s a clickable quicktime video of the ‘Music Box’ in action below. When closed, the lid of the box opens a switch that leads to the 9V battery, so the same battery is still chugging along without having to involve a user-invoked power switch.

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Music Box – “O Holy Night”
From: My Diningroom Table