An assortment of things to read as you sip your coffee, my dears.
unusual musical instruments
A pipe organ made out of paper
Pipe organs usually cost a fortune, but not this one. It’s made of paper, and powered by a balloon! For details and a video, head over to Gizmodo’s post: This Tiny Paper Organ Deserves Its Own Jam Band.
Tim Linhart’s ice instruments
From Good.is: These Ice Instruments Look as Beautiful as They Sound.
Half a world away, in the winter wilds of Luleå, Sweden, American ice sculptor Tim Linhart hand-carves ice instruments. He’s made guitars, drums, banjos, violins and even invented a couple new musical devices. One, the Rolandophone, is giant percussion tool that looks like a pan flute, and another is the Gravaton, a massive 37-string instrument sculpted from 2.2 tons of frozen water.
Linhart’s Ice Music concert series presents around 20 of these instruments to audiences each year. The Ice Music orchestra explores genres ranging from traditional folk to Hawaiian music to rock & roll and classical. It’s avant garde sonic tools draw crowds to Luleåeach year, which is no small feat considering the concert season runs through the city’s subarctic winter. [continue]
That looks like so much fun!
If you’re interested in ice music, check out the links at the end of this Mirabilis.ca blog post from 2008.
Cat pianos, sound-houses, and other imaginary musical instruments
What you want to read now is Cat Pianos, Sound-Houses, and Other Imaginary Musical Instruments at The Public Domain Review. It’s splendid.
From The ice instrument recording project:
Norwegian percussionist Terje Isungset has for years used a variety of organic sound elements in creating music and instruments. (…) Utilizing ice as a source of sound has long been a dream of his, and in year 2000 a serious opportinty came along to explore this possibility. He was commissioned the create a performance piece and composition incorporating the live sound of water beneath a natural frozen waterfall at the 2000 Lillehammer Winter Festival, at minus 15°C degrees and with Palle Mikkelborg og Lena Willemark as participating musicians. (the consert was televised in Norway). This was likely the first public concert ever combining instruments of ice with traditional musical instruments. While making preparations for the Lillehammer concert, Isungset was contacted to help create Sweden’s contribution to the worldwide televised New Years Day Millenium Celebration . In cooperation with sculptor Bengt Carling, Isungset created a set of ice percussion instruments that were played for the whole world to see and hear. [continue, see photos, hear sound samples]
Putting a ear to the past
From the Beeb: Putting a ear to the past.
When a Scottish academic discovered a piece of 17th Century harpsichord music in a little known archive, he was keen to hear it played on the instrument for which it was written.
But bringing the music back to life proved a hard task for Dr Kenny McAlpine, a lecturer in computer arts at the University of Abertay in Dundee.
Antique musical instruments are incredibly fragile – some do not hold their tuning for long enough to play a piece, others are too delicate to play at all.
So Dr McAlpine decided to go for a 21st century solution – and make a digital reconstruction of an antique harpsichord. [continue]
I just know you need a Tromba Marina. Don’t we all?
A tromba marina (or trumpet marine) is probably one of the more unusual instruments that was ever invented. Fantastic as it may seem, it is a legitimate instrument, and enjoyed a brief Golden Age in the first half of the eighteenth century. The tromba marina’s innocent ancestor was the monochord, a single stringed instrument used in medieval monasteries to rediscover the physics of sound, and later to find pitches (the functional precursor to the piano, in that respect). At some point, the monochord acquired the tromba marina’s most distinctive feature: a vibrating bridge. When played with a bow, the vibration of the string causes one foot of the bridge to vibrate against the soundboard, creating a brassy buzz. Add to this the fact that you play high harmonics on the long string, and you’ve got yourself a trumpet. Almost. It truly has to be heard to be believed. [continue]
Now, watch, and listen.
Ancient musical instruments play again through Astra project
From Bios Magazine: Ancient Musical Instruments Play Again Through Astra Project.
Ancient musical instruments can now be heard for the first time in hundreds of years, due to a new computer modelling project. ASTRA (Ancient instruments Sound/Timbre Reconstruction Application) has recreated the sounds of the harp-like Epigonion musical instrument from Ancient Greece and has performed one of the oldest known musical scores dating back to the Middle Ages. To achieve this it used the advanced GÉANT2 and EUMEDCONNECT research networks to link high capacity computers together, sharing information to enable the computer-intensive modelling of musical sounds. [continue]
From HenryLim.org: Lego Harpsichord.
With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts–the keyboard, jacks, jack rack, jack rail, plectra, soundboard, bridge, hitch pins, tuning pins, wrestplank, nut, case, legs, lid, lid stick, and music stand are all built out of interlocking ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) plastic bricks and related pieces.
And is playable. [continue, see photos, listen to sound sample]
The Sea Organ
From Odd Music: The Sea Organ.
The Sea Organ (morske orgulje) is located on the shores of Zadar, Croatia, and is the world’s first pipe organ that is played by the sea. Simple and elegant steps, carved in white stone, were built on the quayside. Underneath, there are 35 pipes with whistle openings on the sidewalk. The movement of the sea pushes air through, and –- depending on the size and velocity of the wave — musical chords are played. The waves create random harmonic sounds. [continue, see photos, listen to sample sound]
Found here at Monkeyfilter.
The astonishing world of musical instruments
The astonishing world of musical instruments is a fun place to noodle around for a few minutes. There are photos and descriptions of the mvet, the njembe, the kadandzi sanza, and a bunch of other instruments as well. Wouldn’t you love to try playing a few of them?