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Entries in instruments (32)


Fabric Machine Plays Fabric Like a Tape

There is something fascinating about playing the sounds of seemingly unplayable things. We have seen how in Harvest by Olle Cornéer and Martin Lübcke the soil gets played like a record, with a huge needle. In Fabric Machine we can listen to the sound of fabric, being played like a tape. 

The machine, created by Kathrin Stumreich in Vienna, plays multiple loops of fabric. Light sensors are used to generate the sounds and the quality and density of the cloth determine the pitch and the rhythm of the sound. So for example, the number of threads interrupting the light per second determine the pitch of the sound. 

Click to read more ...


Gandhara Super Mini

Music is never tied to an object. OK, a CD is a physical object containing music, and we can discuss the emotional value of it, but it is easily replicable, and the plastic disc itself is not worth a thing. 

That is what inspired sound art label Field Noise Records to create the Gandhara Super Mini. In collaboration with Toshikatsu they created these little handmade boxes with music inside them and a traditional Japanese painting of waves on them.

It is a great idea to use an art object to carry the music to its listeners. They even participate as they can operate these ‘noise machines’ themselves. As this description implies we should not expect the sweet music-box sounds the package suggests. 

There is an oscillator inside the box, and a knob to change the frequency. There is no built-in speaker, you will have to use the headphone jack output. And how does it sound? Here is an example (the Gandhara Super Mini combined with a multi-effects processor:

You do not have to be the owner of one of their hardware boxes to be able to listen to Field Noise Record’s music, as all their releases (basically just recordings of their art objects), are free to download. 


Sew-O-Phone and Vacumonium

Dutch artist Dennis de Bel creates wonderful objects inspired by things we find in our everyday lives. Like the Sew-O-Phone, a combination of a sewing machine and a turntable. Or the Vacumonium, in which a harmonium perfectly melts together with a vacuum cleaner. 

The retro design of these ‘transfunctional’ machines make them great to look at. Their simplicity and finish on one hand and their mysterious novelty on the other make them very attractive at first sight! Here is an example of what the Vacumonium sounds like.


KarmetiK Machine Orchestra

Electronic music performed on stage often leaves a lot to be desired in terms of visual entertainment. That is a good point Ajay Kapur, director of Music Technology at CalArts and founder of the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra, makes. 

Were as robotic instruments on themselves can still be quite static, controlling these instruments with technology, and combining the result with live instruments certainly creates a more lively image on stage. 


Three Piece

Three Piece is a three piece ‘band’ - two guitars and a bass guitar. The sound is generated by moving them around, so the air gently plays the strings of the instruments. The speaker is located on the other end of the installation. 

Visitors are encouraged to walk between the instruments (but don’t come too close to the moving arms!). The sound of this installation created by Stephen Cornford can best be described as a haunting soundscape.

(via Noise for Airports)


The Sound of Wood

While creating new and experimental instruments using technology is great, sometimes it is good to be reminded of where our musical instruments originate. In a big forest for instance, where a huge tree is growing for many years.  

The Sound of Wood, a short movie by Anthony Edels, makes us aware again of the process of the creation of a great instrument, handcrafted with love. 

 (via Danny de Graan)


Bridge Music by Joseph Bertolozzi

We've already taken a look at the Singing Bizovik bridge and the abstract soundscape created from it, but Jodi Rose isn't the only one capturing the sound of bridges. Composer Joseph Bertolozzi recorded the sounds of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge and used them to compose his music with for this site-specific sound installation. Bertolozzi used various mallets made of different materials to strike the metal surfaces of the bridge.

There are two listening stations on the bridge itself, and there's a 24/7 transmission on 95.3FM within the parks surrounding the bridge. 


Three Pieces: the plants contuct the music

Three Pieces is designed as a collaboration between robots, traditional instruments, and living things. Robots are playing traditional instruments and they communicate and perform together, conducted by all the living things surrounding them.

Temperature, movement of people and animals and the changing moisture content of the soil of the plants are all measured to influence the music. Due to this combination of factors the music will never be the same twice. Have a look at the Found Electronics website where Ziggy Campbell and Simon Kirby provide a closer look at their remarkable creations.


Royal College of Art & Yamaha

The Tenori-on shows how Yamaha likes to experiment with musical instruments. At Futuresonic 2009 Yamaha presents a new collection of unusual experimental instruments in collaboration with the Royal College of Art.

With the title ‘Making Fun Serious’ the exhibition shows concepts of the Royal College of Art students. They try to transform the mundane actions of daily life into a music performance. This results in projects like:

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The Vienna vegetable orchestra

This is not the latest video on the net, I know, but still a fun one to watch: the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra performs live on their home-made carrot flutes, cabbage drums and pumpkin basses.

It’s surprising the kind of sounds you can get from some fresh vegetables. I don’t think you can use those instruments for more than a day. And what happens with them after the performance, soup maybe?

The orchestra was formed in 1998, yet it still performs almost every month. For the tour schedule look at their website