instruments

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Design Music

The Apprehension Engine: An Instrument Designed to Play the Music of Nightmares

June 26, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Movie composer Mark Korven wanted to craft the perfect sounds for horror movies, but the instruments he needed didn’t exist, and he was tired of using the same digital samples. To produce the original effects needed for evoking breathtaking moments of suspension, he teamed up with guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith to craft an original instrument that would better aid in manufacturing fear. The Apprehension Engine is that tool, a mechanism built with several bowed metal rulers, spring reverbs, a few long metal rods, and other attachments that allow for spooky interludes and effects.

“A normal instrument, you are playing it and expecting it to have a sound that is pleasing,” said Korven to Great Big Story, “but with an instrument like this, the goal is to produce sounds, that in this case, are disturbing.”

The Apprehension Engine expresses the emotions that cannot be expressed in other ways, triggering fear with intense sonic methods. You can listen to more music by the machine tuned to provoke horror in the video below. (via Great Big Story)

 

 



Design Music

Haunting Music Created With Two New Instruments

July 4, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Remember the insane marble machine instrument that took the internet by storm a few months ago? The designer, Martin Molin of Wintergatan, just built two new instruments and recorded a video where he uses both to perform an original composition titled All Was Well. The first is a rather complex take on a traditional music box that uses punched paper-tape to control individual notes, and the second is something he calls a Modulin. The Modulin sounds a lot like an electronic theremin but seems to have an interface like a stringed instrument. Molin has also started releasing additional videos that explain how he built the music box. (via Digg)

 

 



Design Music

Projected Figures of Humans and Animals Play the Keyboard Through Dancing Footsteps

June 2, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

piano-1

DancingKeyBoard_01

Andante” was created by MIT’s Tangible Media Group as a way to promote an understanding of the way that music is rooted in the body, an experience that transcends more than just the ears. The group, led by Professor Hiroshi Ishii, gives physical form to abstract digital information, providing delightful visuals to more complicated processes.

In the animated experiment, human and animal characters were programmed to stroll along the keys of a keyboard, playing notes as they walk or dance from one key to the next. Despite the simplicity of the characters’ movements it is quite entrancing to watch each step, especially when a pianist begins to play a duet with one of the small figures. See the full visualization of the “Andante” in the video below! (via Booooooom)

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Music Photography

Photographer Stephen Orlando Captures the Movement of Musicians Through Light Painting

July 29, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude

Photographer Stephen Orlando (previously) captures the nearly imperceptible movement one makes when quickly sliding a bow along strings, the senses typically drawn to the sounds rather than appearance of the instrument being played. By using carefully placed LED lights and a long exposure Orlando can track these movements through space, following arms and bows with light trails that extend out from the body and instrument. These bright ghostly marks are captured through his photographic technique and not altered with Photoshop, making their distinct patterns all the more spectacular.

The Ontario-based artist was inspired by the lighting painter Gjon Mili, who also experimented with violins in 1952. Orlando explains:

A relative motion between the performer and camera must exist for the light trails to move through the frame. I found it easier to move the camera instead of the performer. The LEDs are programmed to change color to convey a sense of time. The progression of time is from left to right in the viola and violin photos and from top to bottom in the cello photos. Each photo is a single exposure and the light trails have not been manipulated in post processing.

You can see more of Orlando’s lit rainbow pieces on his Instagram and Facebook.

Viola III

Viola III

Violin I

Violin I

Seitz Concerto No. 2, 3rd Movement

Seitz Concerto No. 2, 3rd Movement

Viola - Bach Cello Suite No. 1 - Three Bowings

Viola – Bach Cello Suite No. 1 – Three Bowings

 

 



Design Music

San Francisco-Based Company Builds Guitars From Recycled Skateboard Decks

July 28, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Prisma-Skateboard-Guitar

Nick Pourfard is 22-year-old artist, musician, and skateboarder currently combing his multiple talents into one package: guitars built from reclaimed skateboard decks. The San Francisco-based industrial design student taught himself woodworking to tackle the project which he branded as Prisma Guitars. Each instrument is 100% handmade and composed of skateboards that have been used or broken.

Recently, Pourfard had the honor of building a piece for Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. Pourfard explains, “I took every detail of his playing style and aesthetic into consideration. The bass has an off-white painted alder back with skate top featuring colors as close to West Ham as possible. I laser cut a custom mirror pickguard and bound the whole body in black and white to pay homage to his classic original bass.”

You can donate your own used or broken skateboards to Pourfard before they make their way into a landfill here. (via fubiz)

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Tracing

Prisma-006-Front

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Guitar-003-Body

 

 



Music

Musician Guilhem Desq Gives an Electrifying Hurdy Gurdy Performance

December 16, 2014

Christopher Jobson

On a list of things I most anticipated sitting down to cover on Colossal today, the hurdy gurdy probably wasn’t in the top thousand topics, but then I stumbled onto this video and had to share it. The piece is called Omen, written and performed by Guilhem Desq, who uses an electrified version of the hurdy gurdy along with sampling to create a surprisingly contemporary composition. The first two minutes are more traditional (?) sounding, but around the 2:00 mark things get amazing. If you’re unfamiliar with this obscure instrument, here’s a little background:

The hurdy gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin. Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents—small wedges, typically made of wood—against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. Like most other acoustic stringed instruments, it has a sound board to make the vibration of the strings audible.

If you just can’t get enough hurdy gurdy, you can listen to more of Desq’s music on his YouTube channel, and there’s also a great TED talk by Caroline Philips, Hurdy Gurdy for Beginners. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Design Music

A New Acoustic Instrument That Creates Sounds like a Digital Synthesizer

November 4, 2014

Christopher Jobson

hero

The Yaybahar is a new acoustic instrument designed by Istanbul-based musician Görkem Şen that emits music right out of a retro sci-fi movie, a remarkable feat considering there isn’t a bit of electricity involved. The Yaybahar can be played in a variety of different ways using mallets or with a bow, relying on a combination of two drum-like membranes, long springs, and a tall fretted neck to create music. Like any instrument, it’s capable of producing sounds that run the gamut from “beautiful music” to “noise.” Give it a listen! (via The Creators Project)

Update: Here’s a video (in Turkish) of Şen giving a TEDx talk earlier this year where he plays a similar bow and spring-type instrument. (thnx, JR!)