Saturday, April 17, 2021

Listen to five of the world’s newest, wildest instruments


What does someone have to invent a new instrument? Ask this year’s finalist Guthman Musical Instrument Competition, And you get different answers – bored, curiosity, disappointment among them.

The creative impulse is often sparked by a question: what if a piano can be sung? How does a guitar learn to play microtone? Can a keyboard instrument be taught to pounce like a cello? Some of the entrants had to widen their skill sets to include woodcarving or soldering. One asked for help from his plumber; Another 7 year old obsessed with his Lego.

In a normal year, Findley audiences get to see their creations in front of a live audience. Although the annual competition, organized by the Georgia Institute of Technology, went online this year, the videos submitted by the contestants have allowed viewers to plunge across the globe with ingenuity. on Friday, University announced the winners.

One of the judges, guitarist Kaki Raja, said in an interview that it was impossible to compare and rank the entries, a Harp-guitar hybrid And a Electronic kippu Is based on an ancient Andean encryption method using notched strings. King said that what ultimately guided him was the tactile charm and magnetism of an invention.

“As a player, writer, and musician,” he said, “you have a desire to put your hands on something, and that measures its value.”

Here are five highlights from the competition, brand-new members of the vast family of devices.

Ulfor Hanson (Reykjavik, Iceland)

The design for Ullful Hanson’s electromagnetic harp came to him during a dull class in college. He entered a computer graphics program and made a doodle: a circular line looping inward, gathered in the shape of a heart line in the center.

“It was definitely the vision before the sound,” Hanson said in a phone interview. The spiral diagram, which emerged from a mathematical ratio, now embellishes the flat wooden surface of a shield structure that hides the 24 wires created by electromagnets to vibrate. Magnets can be viewed remotely by keys etched in the front panel or remotely by a computer, activated by releasing an ethereal hum like a ghostly organ.

Because strings can vibrate either at their fundamental frequencies or in one of the harmonics of their overtones series, Sigulharpa is “kind of chaotic”, said Hanson, who sold the electronics by taking four devices at hand. “It is always evolving as you play. You can feel that it is shaping itself. “

David shee, Monica lim And Mirza Cesar (Melbourne, Australia)

Experimental pianists have long associated hand-held electromagnetic instruments with eboves that vibrate when the piano’s strings come into direct contact. The prototypes consist of pianos with a built-in electromagnetic component, but their size and expense keep them out of the reach of most artists.

Composer David Shea dreamed of an instrument that would turn any music festival into an electromagnetic piano capable of producing both traditional sounds and an equally continuous drone of electronic music. “I thought, could there be a travel version that would be modular and could be continuously adapted by anyone playing it?” He said in a video interview with Monica Lim, a fellow pianist-musician who helped shape the design.

The idea of ​​his success was a mini computer for each note that rotates atop the string without touching it. A pianist can play both an electromagnetic component and a traditional keyboard at the same time – “a dialogue,” Shea said, “between the old and the new” – or a drone performing a duet with another person (or computer). Sing. . The device is portable and easy to install.

Lynn said, “It’s like a layer with a more powerful sound activated by the keyboard.”

Atlas Kogulu, Tolghan Kogulu and Rasen Can Acet (Istanbul)

Over the years, Tolgan Kogulu has been teaching guitar to play new notes. “I like the guitar a lot,” he said while speaking in a recent video interview. “However, I can’t play my own music.”

Turkish music relies on microtons, while traditional guitars have frets that arrange the pitch according to the Western tuning system. In 2008, Kogulu designed a microtonal guitar with movable frets, but has become a specialist instrument.

One day his young son Atlas made a Lego replica of his father’s microtonal fretboard. Kogulu immediately realized his potential. “It’s a miracle idea,” he said. “It is the most popular toy in the world, and it is the most popular device. And if you add them, it becomes a microtonal guitar – because you can carry the goods on the lego studs. “

Rusan Can Acet, an engineer and graduate student at Istanbul Technical University, came up with the idea for a 3D-print base plate. Lego pieces are folded in place, and a set of 3D-printed movable freight is attached to the top. Kogulu said production was almost cheaper than laughter, and only halted when he used all the thin single square pieces in the Atlas’ Lego collection that are essential to his design.

In lessons with his students, Kogulu felt that he had struck an instrument to teach music theory. With its movable frets, the Lego microtonal guitar shows changing intervals in various Western, Turkish and Balinese modes. Kogulu and his team are making 3D printable files available to anyone for a nominal contribution. He also plans to make a fully assembled version that he hopes will be useful in music schools.

Clark Battle (United States)

“I’m basically an inappropriate cellist with guitar jealousy,” Clark fight said. As a reformer, he praised the chordal flexibility of the piano or guitar. But, as he explained in an email exchange, he was not ready to give up the flexible pitch of his chosen instrument, the cello. He began to wonder what a piano might look like that allowed a musician to vibrate and slide notes – as you can on a cello.

The result is Evolano – a “developed piano.” The instrument consists of a piano, keys aligned with a ruler, action, and hammers. Strings run along the keys, sliding on a curved fret that determines the pitch. Pressing multiple keys, the keyboard is played in a traditional way. But by shaking hands, the structure of the entire cord can travel smoothly, as in the cello glissando.

Battle said that his study of kung fu influenced him on the importance of “respecting the natural vertical symmetry of the human body”. As for the sound, he said, “I honestly had no hope for the tonal aspects of the instrument. Since there is no precedent for tonight, whatever it does, it seems.

Steve Parker (Austin, Tex.)

Steve Parker’s instruments make no sound. Rather, it revives trombonist brass instruments as sculptural listening instruments. His inspirations are the early 20th century military sound locators – some called battle tubes – that were used to contact enemy aircraft prior to the invention of radar. Parker’s instruments pop out of a similar gangless menu, with the Yard of Serian tubing culminating in the flaming bells of the trombone and susaphon.

Parker’s instruments – some wearable, some attached to a gallery wall – become part of compositions that play with the dimensionality of the sound. They also associate music with aggressive methods such as surveillance and espionage.

“They are picture frames – but they are much more than that,” Parker said in a video interview from the American Academy of Rome, where he is currently a fellow. “They not only select and amplify certain sounds; They also resonate at certain frequencies. Because when the sound collides, this device vibrates, it fine-tunes it. “

Parker says the effect on the listener is disappointing. He likes how the revisited marching band instruments, rich with protests, protests and modern gladiator games, can be turned into instruments for communal listening. And he enjoys “a little bit of bitcoin” which goes to the hardware store to remove its components with copper pipes and soak their components. In the process, he said, “I’ve become quite friendly with my plumber.”



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