Volumes 11-12 (1995-1997)
This page contains synopses of articles appearing in the Experimental Musical Instruments journal, Volumes 11 and 12.
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VOLUME 11 #1, SEPTEMBER 1995
Letters and Notes. 6 pages; 5 photos; 2 drawings; 2 diagrams.
Will Dahlgren: Information on the prospect of Leon Theremin’s availability to the public. Craig Packard: Stroh Violins still being used in Transylvania by Romanian and Hungarian Folk Musicians. Dennis James: owner and performer of Stroh-style phonoviolin and Stroh phonofiddle has soundtrack project to include theremin, Baschet cristal, ondes martenot, and phonoviolin. Robert Rich: Speed bump music; A musical bridge using a textured roadbed plays Peter Gabriel melody as cars drive across it. Michael Meadows: ideas for tone roads, where grooves strategically placed on highways would play geographically correct songs (i.e. “Oklahoma” in Oklahoma). Blake Mitchell: How to create more resonance for the round surface of tubulongs and a description of one of his own aluminum tubaphones; he also describes book on marimba design in the making. David Strohauer: description of Magnum Tube-A-Tone, made of 6″ diameter tubing played with foam padded paddles. Description of Mark Whitecage’s soundsculpture, the Glass House Ensemble. Includes photos of the Bowed Horn, Crystal, and 12-Bolt Steel Cello. Homemade Instrument Day at Lincoln Center. Bulletin of Primitive Technology has several articles devoted to instrument construction without using modern technology. Cassette to accompany Volume 10 issues available.
“Sound-Making Mechanisms In Contemporary Children’s Toys”: Bart Hopkin. 6 pages; 11 photos; 1 drawing.
The author describes acoustic sound mechanisms used in a variety of contemporary plastic toys. Everything from a plastic nose whistle to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure are described. The different toys are categorized by their method of sounding: Spring and Diaphragm toys; Clacker Flexers; Edge Tones; Reeds; Accordian Squeezers; Bouncing Ball Percussion; Mechano-Acoustic Playback System; Magic-Sound Baby Rattle [additional keywords: Humanotone, labial reeds; aerophones; Zube tube].
“Music As Fragile As Its Material: The Classical Repertoire of the Glass Harmonica”: Mitchell Clark. 2 pages.
A brief historical account of the glass harmonica, a general term for glass instruments sounded through friction. Clark notes that the armonica is now considered the first “American” musical instrument. He then goes on to describe two recent recordings, both including compositions written by Mozart for the glass harmonica, one including a Beethoven melodrame from the play Leonore Prohaska [additional keywords: glass-chord; glass bowls; musical glasses].
“New Discoveries from the Cloud Eight Archive of Musical Instruments and Fortean Musicology: The Prehistoric Brass/Woodwind Connection”: Davey Williams. Illustrations by Hal Rammel. 4 pages; 6 drawings.
Humor/nonsense: In this second installment on musical instruments long buried in the Cloud Eight Archive’s dusty storehouse (1st in EMI March 94), Williams establishes a lineage between brass and woodwinds [additional keywords: Thaddeus Partly Fardworthy].
“Nature On Record: Part 2″: Rene van Peer. 5 pages.
The second installment of this series concentrates on recording soundscapes, focused mostly on the animals that live in them, to portray natural environments. The author explores issues such as the role sound plays in nature, the editing and portrayal of nature sounds, the increasing difficulty of locating places where human technology does not infringe upon them, the process of recording, and listening to such recordings. Includes thorough discography [additional keywords: crickets].
“Perpetual Instruments and Requiem For A Radio”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 4 pages; 4 photos.
An inquiry into the communication of sound and emotion, theology and science. Reed Ghazala goes on to describe requiem for a radio, a recording of the process of a radio’s destruction wherein the four movements are based on the structure of the Requiem Mass [additional keywords: muscae volitantes].
“Bamboo: The Giant Musical Grass”: Richard Waters. 4 pages; 9 photos.
The final installment of this 3 part series on Bamboo — the 1st discussed varieties of bamboo species and their characteristics, the 2nd covered bamboo cultivation. Here, Waters focuses on tools and methods for working bamboo, then goes on to describe some of his own recent bamboo instruments, including his bamboo aeolian device (BAD), a hybrid of an aeolian flute and bamboo wind chime [additional keywords: wind flutes; aeolian harps].
“Ramblings”: Bart Hopkin. 3 pages; 2 photos; 1 diagram.
The author describes his experimentation with the rotary rasp (later renamed Savart’s Wheel), an attempt to create a sound device that does not create sound through natural oscillation based on the springy or elastic qualities in vibrating bodies, but instead uses an external mechanism to force a vibratory motion controlled by a driver. The instrument uses a system by which a plectrum scrapes over a surface with evenly spaced ridges at a steady speed, creating a recognizable pitch associated with some steady number of ridge-bumps per second. The article includes directions to determine scales [additional keywords: Telharmonium; Hammond Organ; drag stick/sound radiator].
Book Reviews. 1 page.
Hugo Pinksterboer: The Cymbal Book. [additional keywords: percussion; bells].
VOLUME 11 #2, DECEMBER 1995
Letters and Notes. 8 pages; 10 photos; 8 drawings.
Robert Grawi: A list of dream instruments and information on Gravikord. Ernie Althoff: A list of commercially available Nature Sound recordings, additional comments on bamboo and children’s toys [additional keywords: Fisher Price Happy Apple]. Rene van Peer: Thoughts on Speed Bump Music after traveling German and Dutch Freeways. Michael Meadows: A description of a rotary rasp type device using a Singer sewing machine. Blake Mitchell: Wake the Marimba book; the Dancing Waters Color Instrument; bamboo instruments. Ultrasonic Tape [additional keywords: aeolian harps; singing telegraph wires]. Qubais Reed Ghazala and rare wind instruments [additional keywords: rotary rasp; Helmholtz' simple sirens]. James Coury: Interactive Sound Sculptures [additional keywords: randomness].
“The Flutes and Sound Sculptures of Susan Rawcliffe”: Susan Rawcliffe. 5 pages; 10 photos.
The artist describes the construction, sound, and scale systems of her handmade ceramic flutes [additional keywords: Waterflutes; Pre-Columbian Flute Systems; Space Flutes; PolyGlobular Trumpet].
“Drums For The 21st Century”: Kris Lovelett. 1+pages; 1 photo; 1 diagram.
The author describes the unique qualities of Protocussion’s Lovelett Drum.
“The Busker”: Christopher White. 1 page.
A description of a sound-sculpture arranging objects that can be struck, plucked, scraped, etc. on a clothes rack in the abstract shape of a person, or busker (an english street musician or one-man band) [additional keywords: mallet instruments; percussion].
“The Nakers”: Kris Lovelett. 1 page; 1 photo.
Similar to its predecessor, the Naggara Drums, described in EMI June 1994, The Nakers consists of two clay dumbek-shaped drums that rest in a wooden table, a wood block lying between. Two foot pedals change the pitch of the two drums [additional keywords: pitch-varying pumps; mallet instruments; woodblocks].
“The Monochord”: Sasha Bogdanowitsch. 7 pages; 3 photos; 6 drawings; 7 diagrams.
The first part of this is a historical account, tracing the monochord’s origins to ancient Greece (6th century B.C.) and Pythagoras, through medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras to contemporary composers, including Harry Partch, Lou Harrison and Bill Colvig. This is followed by directions for the construction of a monochord and a mathematical illustration for generating scales as practiced by Boethius and two charts to help the reader generate many historical and “world” scales. With bibliography [additional keywords: numeric ratios; diatonic, chromatic, enharmonic, and tetrachordal scales; Claudius Ptolemy; Greek Perfect System; Herman Helmholtz; just intonation; trumpet marina; Vietnamese dan-bu; North Indian alapini/ekatantri vina; zither; Arabic kanun; clavichord].
“The Essential Thing the Pipes Play: Piobaireachd and the Great Highland Bagpipes of Scotland”: Mitchell Clark. 1+ pages.
The author describes this instrument and genre of music and what makes it distinct and popular in relation to other forms of bagpipe music. He then lists and reviews a small discography of Piobaireachd music [additional keywords: Scottish Border Pipes; Irish Villean Pipes; African/Asian Bagpipes].
“Historical Musical Instrument Patents: A Variable-Pitch Tuning Fork”: Notes by Bart Hopkin. 1+pages; 2 diagrams.
First in a series of articles on historical music patents, the author offers advice on researching patents as well as explaining the difference in patents today as compared to those at the turn of the 19th century. This is followed by a brief description of Joseph C. Jinkins’ patented tunable tuning fork.
Book Reviews. 1+pages.
Trevor Wishart: Audible Design: A plain and easy Introduction to Practical Sound Composition [additional keywords: computer software; Fast-Fourier Transforms (FFTs); Sampling].
Jean Bonin: Piano-Beds and Music by Steam: An Index with Abstracts to Music-Related United States Patent Records, 1790-1874 [additional keywords: musical inventions].
“The Leskowsky Collection”: Daroczi Kiss Marta. Translated by Coventry House Kecskemet. Photos by Walter Peterne. 2+ pages; 10 photos.
The author describes the instruments and activities of Albert Leskowsky. The museum contains a collection of over 1000 musical instruments ranging from folk and classical instruments of various countries to one-of-a-kind sound-sculptures made by himself and others [additional keywords: The Fonograf Group; movable sound-sculptures; Hungarian Folk Music].
“From the Music Wing of the Dream Museum: Sky Harps”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 5 pages; 14 photos; 2 engravings.
Reed Ghazala searches for a source to unexplained sonic phenomena/happenings in the guise of the sky harp, a sonic device existing in dimensions parallel to ours, occupying the same space but existing at alternate temporal wavelengths [additional keywords: Marin Marsenne and Harmonie Universelle; Michael Pretorius and Syntagma Musicum; elevation bells; towering sky harp; alien triskelia; Sound Theater Museum].
“Ramblings”: Bart Hopkin. 1+ pages.
The author gives some practical tips on how to increase reverberation primarily for stringed instruments and idiophones. Coil springs, sympathetic strings, sheet metal, and wires are cited. A very brief discussion of wind instruments is mentioned as well as the most effective reverberant devices: the acoustics of a particular space/room/physical locale [additional keywords: sitar; Viola D'Amour].
VOLUME 11 #3, MARCH 1996
Letters and Notes. 4 pages; 3 drawings; 7 photos; 1 diagram.
Peter Lundberg: Corrections in regards to the history of the monochord article that appeared in the previous issue, including diagram of Swedish Psalmodikon [additional keywords: J. Dillner]. Colin Hinz: the Motorchord [additional keywords: monochord; meccano instrument]. Barry Hall: Stone Fiddle [additional keywords: Johannes Bergmark; Egyptian rebabba; flute]. Roger Merrick: Mauricio Kagel’s recording with Stroh-like string-quartet, in response to EMI June 1995 article [additional keywords: Stroh violins]. Reinhold Banek and Jon Scoville: Sound Designs on Ten Speed Press. More Sound-making children’s toys: The Fly Swatter; The Jitter Ball; The Mango Bat — Refers to article in EMI Sept 1995 [additional keywords: percussion; reeds]. Noise Gate Magazine. Partch Online.
“Rotating Tweeter Horn”: Keith Cary. 1+ page; 1 photo; 1 drawing.
The author discusses the construction of his Rotating Tweeter Horn which uses an old thrift store phonograph to add phase-shifting and tremolo effects to his Hammond M3 Spinet Organ [additional keywords: Leslieoid Baldwin speaker; Piezo Tweeter].
“Tweak Those Tones”: John Herron. 1/2 page.
Herron gives a brief list of methods he uses to modify sound (i.e. add reverb; warbling Leslie effect) in an affordable homemade manner.
“The Didgeridoo”: Steve Wilson. 3+ pages; 2 photos.
The author gives a brief history of this Australian Aboriginal instrument, describing how it transforms from eucalyptus or bamboo into a playable instrument, followed by a list of building materials and instructions, playing technique, describing the harmonics created, and circular breathing [additional keywords: didjeridu, aerophone; bamboo; PVC].
“A Conversation with Rex Lawson, Pianolist Extraordinaire”: Mitchell Clark. 3+ pages; 2 photos.
After a brief biography of Lawson and a description of the pianola, an instrument similar to the player-piano but with which the player controls tempo and phrasing, an interview discusses some intricacies of the pianola and its brief existence, cut short by the advent of the phonograph.
“Historical Musical Instrument Patents: 4 Patents Relating To String Instruments”: Cary Clements. 3 pages; 6 drawings.
The author muses on the subject of patents including brief discussions of 4 patents relating to stringed-instruments: Leo Fender’s Stratocastor Guitar Tremolo; Seth Lover’s Humbucker Pickup; Hans L. Deden’s Keyed ‘Cello and Mr. de Vlaminck’s nearly identical instrument; and Raymond A. Kidwell’s Mechanical Fingering and Picking Device For Electric Guitar.
“Making Marketable Musical Instruments”: Bart Hopkin. 3 pages.
The 1st of 4 articles concerning the making and marketing of unconventional instruments, Hopkin presents an introductory overview. Issues covered include: Cost of Materials; Sound Quality; Conceptual Hooks; Non-Replacability.
“The Historical Perspective”: Richard Cooke. 2+ pages; 3 photos.
The 2nd article in the series concerning the making and marketing of unconventional instruments, Cooke provides useful tips citing his own experience making and selling both standard and custom mallet instruments, including his Freenotes, using pentatonic or diatonic scales. Combining what is familiar with uniqueness is one key to his success [additional keywords: xylophones; marimbas; Imbarimba, percussion].
“The Reeded Mouth Bow”: Wayland Harman. 4 pages; 4 diagrams.
The author briefly discusses the mouthbow — mouth-resonated string instrument — and his attempts to create a mouthbow design in which the harmonic melodies created with it are more audible than the fundamental drone that often drowns it out. This is followed by construction ideas with diagrams, a short history of the mouthbow, and some playing instructions [additional keywords: reeds].
Video Review. 1/2 page.
Madeline Tourtelot with music by Harry Partch.
Enclosure 1: Harry Partch.
“Soundculture 96: An Exhibition of Experimental Instruments at the Falkirk Cultural Center”: Mitchell Clark. 1+ page.
The Soundculture Festival of 1996 explored the interface of new instruments and new music. Tom Nunn, Fran Holland, Peter Whitehead, and Oliver Di Cicco appeared; short descriptions of their unique inventions appear in this review. [additional keywords: found objects; recycled materials; Electroacoustic Percussion Boards (EPB); Sax Reeds].
“Ramblings”: Bart Hopkin. 2 pages; 4 photos.
The author discusses scraping and gives examples of his own scraped instruments that blend noise and tone: EMT Scraper Chimes; Scraper Flute; scraper flutes with tone holes; and rebar scraper chimes. He makes some recommendations based on his experience [chimes; aerophones; Darrel De Vore].
“Swords Into Plowshares: Percussionist, Z’EV, Discusses His Work With Titanium and Stainless Steel Instruments”: An Interview by Mike Hovancsek. 1 1/2 pages.
Hovancsek introduces Z’EV as a member of the revolutionary and controversial proto-Industrial/Noise/Punk/Techno group, Psychic TV and collaborator with Glen Branca. This introduction is followed by an interview geared primarily towards Z’EV’s interest in percussion and his ideologies of “Empowerment of the Audience” and “Shamamistic Qabala” [additional keywords: Rhythm; Ritual; found objects].
“What was Walden Pond to Thoreau? 150 Years of Forgotten Rumors”: Kenneth “Turk” Turkington. 1 1/2 pages; 2 photos.
In connection with the sundry articles on Aeolian harps in EMI Volume 10, Turkington reveals the rumor that Thoreau did in fact have a deep interest in Aeolian Harps to be true. Using a poem by Thoreau as an example, as well as having done extensive research on Emerson, the author associates the spirituality and aesthetic of the transcendentalists to the modus operandi of the aeolian harp.
VOLUME 11 #4, JUNE 1996
Letters and Notes. 4 pages; 2 photos.
Guy Grant: Corrections to didjeridu article that appeared in previous issue. Steve Smith: Marimbula and Rumba box. Dance and Percussion Performance: Stomp [additional keywords: found and everyday objects; brooms]. Siegfried Wendel and Mechanical Instruments Museum: Mechanisches Musikkabinett. Last Soundscape Newsletter [additional keywords: environmental sound awareness]. Bart Hopkin’s Musical Instrument Design: Information for Instrument Making on Sharp Press. Air Columns and Toneholes by Bart Hopkin available through EMI.
“Liquid Percussion: An Interactive Installation by the composer/sound sculptor Trimpin Plays Music for the Rainy Season”: Jake Seniuk. 4 pages; 3 photos; 1 diagram.
The author traces Trimpin’s interest in invention back to a long line of inventors whose credits include the alarm clock and describes his Liquid Percussion exhibit, which combines unfixed percussive rhythms created by dripping water, triggered both by viewers and programmed automatically [additional keywords: found objects; electronic/acoustic interface].
“Selling Unusual Musical Instruments: One Approach”: David Strohauer. 4 pages; 4 photos.
In this 3rd article in a series on the making and marketing of unconventional musical instruments, Strohauer, who operates the retail store and mailorder catalog Earthshaking Percussion (now called Earthshaking Music), offers some helpful tips on subjects such as advertising, selling on consignment, printing flyers and catalogs, having a showroom, interacting with potential customers, do-it-yourself marketing, and more.
“Marketing For Your Newly Invented Musical Instruments: From the Moment of Conception to the Attainment of Success”: Robin Goodfellow. 2 pages; 20 drawings.
Humor: The author presents a cartoon narrative of the marketing process.
“Fascinating Rhythm: Innovative Percussion Instruments”: Tim Anderson and Janet Powell. 3 pages; 1 photo.
The 4th and final installment on the making and marketing of unconventional musical instruments features the founders of Fascinating Rhythm, who concentrate on percussive instruments for the education market in New Zealand. Anderson and Powell offer advice on such issues as marketing, the importance of feedback/criticism, pricing and expansion, putting any profit back into the business, whether to sell or manufacture, the problem of others copying your good ideas, and more.
“Fred ‘Spaceman’ Long: Troubadour from the 26th Century”: Walter Funk. 2+pages; 4 photos
After giving a historical account of what led Long to invent instruments, Funk describes several of Long’s electro/acoustic and electronic instruments that make up a family of instrument called Jokers. Features that are often found in this family include: springs, sheet metal resonators, electric pickups, acoustic sound generation and processing [additional keywords: found objects; singing saws; Gamelan; string instruments; violin].
“ElectroAcoustic Coil-Spring Instruments”: Eric Leonardson. 1 1/2 pages; 3 photos.
A description of the Springboard, an electroacoustic instrument consisting of a large 10-gauge coil-spring, a thin metal can, a small barbecue rack, flat hardwood sticks and other materials, played by bowing or plucking. It’s amplified by a contact microphone that can be hooked up to a mixer or amplifier [additional keywords: found objects; Gamelan; violin bows; daxophone].
“Woodcuts From an Obscure 19th Century Acoustics Text: Professor Pietro Blaserna’s The Theory of Sound in its Relation To Music: With Notes by Bart Hopkin. 4+pages; 15 woodcuts.
Reproductions of 15 woodcuts of various mechanical apparati culled from Blaserna’s book, accompanied by captions, to demonstrate vibrational phenomena.
“Circuit- Bending And Living Instruments: The Harmonic Window”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 5 pages; 3 photos; 3 drawings.
After a brief dreamlike introduction in the natural world, Reed Ghazala goes on to describe his Harmonic Window. The Harmonic Window is an aleatoric instrument that can stack small samples to stream together a complex thread of sound. What follows is an inquiry into his idea of a living instrument: circuit-bending an instrument expedites the aging process of the instrument so that it becomes impossible to retrieve a sound done in the past, as the sound transforms, ages. Lastly, he discusses whether circuit-bending instruments are “convulsing”.
Book Reviews. 2 pages.
Eva Rudy Jansen: Singing Bowls: A Practical Handbook of Instruction and Use [additional keywords: Tibetan/Nepalese Singing Bowls; Crystal Bowls]. Philip Dadson and Don McGlashan: The From Scratch Workbook [Tubular Aerophones; Percussion; glass bells; truncated bottles].
“Ramblings”: Bart Hopkins. 3 pages; 2 photos; 3 drawings.
After a short description of his bentwood chalumeau, a glissando clarinet discussed more thoroughly in EMI Volume #2, August 1988, the author focuses on movable toneholes specifically relating to the clarinet. Includes construction tips and diagrams describing both the bentwood chalumeau and magstrip clarinets, and compares the differences between the two.
VOLUME 12 #1, SEPTEMBER 1996
Letters and Notes. 6 pages; 8 photos; 3 drawings.
Anonymous: John Sheehan and the “Horn Guitar”. Christopher Horne: Kitchen utensil music [additional keywords: mixing bowls; mixmasters; tea kettles]. Barbara Robben and Paetzold Recorders. Ginger Summit and Jim Widess’ The Complete book of Gourd Craft available; focuses on how-to techniques on historical and contemporary instruments using the family’s form. Equinox Productions and Dawn Kunzkowski and Earth Tone Drums [additional keywords: cans/food containers; specially treated paper; found objects]. Marianne Potje’s film Inspiration & Invention: The Musical Instruments of Hal Rammel [additional keywords; cicliolin; the one-string snath, sound palette; cigarbox fiddle]. Longwave Instruments Pocket Theremin [additional keywords: MIDI]. Web Site and Internet discussion group listing. Ernie Althoff and bamboo sound machines and electric Friction Tube Set [additional keywords: keyboard-like control system].
“The Art of Sound Effects: Part 1″: Ray Brunelle. 5 1/2 pages; 1 photo; 6 drawings.
The first part of a two-part article on the history of sound effects in theater, film, and music. After a brief history of drum sets, Brunelle traces the history of sound effects to ancient Greece and Shakespearean times. After which follows a list of major sound effects movers and shakers including: Jules White; Joe Henrie; Morrie Opper; Mel Blanc; Spike Jones; Monty Fraser; and Joe Siracusa, including descriptions of some of their contributions [additional keywords: bird calls; the "Rumble Cart"; the "Thunder Screen"; the "Slapstick"; duck calls; the "Latrinophone"].
“A Musical Instrument Workshop in Hanoi”: Jason Gibbs. 3 pages; 8 photos.
In the first part of this article, the author profiles Ta Tham, a Vietnamese instrument builder who works at the National Conservatory of Music and at his own Hanoi Music Conservatory. He builds traditional instruments of Vietnam and those of his own invention. What follows is a description of Vietnam’s most evocative instrument, the Dan Bau, tracing it historically and describing its materials and harmonic structure [additional keywords: dan tranh; dan ty ba; dan njuyet; dan nhi; zither; contrabasse Vietnamese].
“Some basics On Shell Trumpets and Some Very Basics on How to Make Them”: Mitchell Clark. 4 pages; 4 photos.
The author offers some historical information, tracing the use of shells as trumpets to the Neolithic Era, making apparent the use of shells as signaling devices, and pointing out the use of these instruments in the ceremonies of many cultures around the world. He offers some basic instructions for two styles: 1) with the mouth hole at the apex, and 2) side-blown. Lastly, he discusses sound quality (i.e. pitch modification; harmonics), lists endnotes with sources, and lists a brief discography [additional keywords: Strombus Gigas; Japanese Hora; Charonia Tritonis; Tibetan dung-dkar; Bursa Bubo; Cassis].
“The Brain, Process Model and Other Phenomena”: Grant Strombeck. 3+pages; 6 photos.
The author inquires into the notion of different brain types (i.e. left hemisphere equals logical; right hemisphere equals intuitive) and their different functions/strengths in regards to how one’s disposition affects one’s process of building instruments. He follows this inquiry with a process guide to help others make the building of instruments more methodical and thorough and thus increase the potential of realizing one’s goal. Photos of the author’s instruments with description of construction and sound: Terminal paper Gourd harp; Jawlimba; Old Piano-String Drum; Flexy-Protuberance; Clock Chime Plus; Wobble-Bell. Short bibliography also listed.
“My Easy Stereo Tube-Preamp, Leslie Talk Box”: John Herron. 1/2 page.
The author describes how he was able to create a Leslie effect with an old Norelco reel-to-reel tape recorder.
“The Monolith: A Two-Dimensional Keyboard for Pitch and Timbre”: Jacob Duringer. 1+ pages; 2 photos.
Jacob Duringer describes the layout and capabilities of his alternative keyboard MIDI controller for performance and composition applications. He points out his prior frustration with traditional keyboard layout and the limitations one faced performing solo with one. His goal was to create a MIDI keyboard device capable of multi-timbral music that can be performed all by one person.
“The Quartal System: The Introduction of the Two-dimensional Musical Keyboard”: Geary Thompson. 1+ pages; 6 diagrams.
The Quartal system is a concept for a two-dimensional pitch layout system. The author presents the Quartal system in two forms: as it would be realized as a guitar tuning and as a keyboard.
“The ‘Terrence Dougherty’”: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE. 1+ pages; 1 photo.
The author describes his aleatoric device named after the donor of many of its constituent parts which include: a sine wave/square wave generator; 2 cheap 4-channel mixers; and a primitive “ring modulator” among many other things. He describes in detail the way he combined and manipulated tape-player/radios with his mixers, noise generators, his percussive unit, Erector Set, and other devices [additional keywords: indeterminism; randomness].
“Two Generations of Experimental Musical Instruments”: Tilman Kuntzel and Margrit Kuntzel-Hansen. 4 pages; 1 photo; 22 drawings.
The author describes growing up with his mother German music teacher and theorist Margrit Kuntzel-Hansen, who developed a system of music pedagogy for children, with home-buildable musical instruments as a central feature, and traces her influence on his own development as composer and sound artist. Included are constructions, accompanied by drawings, of home-buildable instruments for children.
Book Reviews. 1+ pages.
Chesley Goseyun Wilson, Ruth Longcor harnisch Wilson, and Bryan Burton: When The Earth Was Like New: Western Apache Songs & Stories [additional keywords: Tsii'edo'a'tl/Apache Violin; Apache Flute; Fipple Flute; Bamboo].
Daniel Goode, editor: The Frog Peak Rock Music Book [additional keywords: Stones].
“The Plastic Ukulele and Guitar Inventor: Mario Maccaferri”: Cary Clements. 2+ pages; 4 drawings/diagrams.
As a part of EMI’s ongoing series on musical instrument patents, the author describes the advent of a new kind of instrument made and manufactured by Mario Maccaferri in the late 1940′s and 50′s, inspired by capitalism and populism: instruments made with plastic. Also included is a brief history of Maccaferri himself, a renowned guitarist [additional keywords: plastic reeds; plastic guitars].
VOLUME 12 #2, DECEMBER 1996
Letters and Notes. 5 pages; 6 photos; 2 drawings.
Guy Grant: Addition to Mitchell Clark’s Shell Trumpet discography from previous issue. C. Reider: Offers advice regarding movable toneholes discussed in article EMI Vol. 11 #1, June 1996. Bob Grawi: “Enduring Rhythms: African Musical Instruments and the Americas” exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bill Sethares: Edible Instruments. Minnie Black. Soundscape Newsletter revived as The New Soundscape Newsletter. Lou Berger and his Drum Shtik, Player Piano. Brian Stapleton and his unique ukuleles. Starr Labs and Electronic Keyboard Layout. Corrections to Ray Brunelle article “The Art of Sound Effects, Pt. 1; Robert Mott & Jordan Young. Corrections to John Herron’s “My Easy Stereo Tube-Preamp Leslie Talk Box.” Hal Rammel gives report on Newfoundland Sound Symposium.
“The Development of Bamboo Saxes From Argentina”: Angel Sampedro del Rio. Translated by Mariana Cecilia Iglesias. 4 pages; 7 photos; 1 drawing.
The author describes his modus operandi for building his bamboo woodwinds, including information on materials and mouthpieces [additional keywords: Adolphe Sax; Theobald Boehm].
“Circuit-Bending and Living Instruments: The Casio SK-1 Escapist Sample Shuttle”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 6 pages; 3 photos.
The author describes his process of transforming a Casio SK-1 via creative short-circuiting into an aleatoric instrument. Includes thorough instructions. He has also creatively re-wired a Casio VL-Tone and Universe Device. This is accompanied by a brief patch description by Cynthia Striley that follows [additional keywords: LED; pitch dial; poly dial; sound envelope].
“Composing On The Escapist Sample Shuttle”: Cynthia Striley Ph.D. with Mark Milano. 1 page; 2 diagrams.
Accompanying the previous article wherein Qubais Reed Ghazala describes the Escapist Sample Shuttle, Striley offers a sort of guide diagram as an introduction to dealing with the instrument’s inherent complexity.
“The Citara, type Alfonso el Sabio: A Medieval Psaltery”: Nelly van Ree Bernard. 4 1/2 pages; 5 photos; 8 drawings.
Bernard describes her research and rebuilding of psalteries depicted in 13th Century manuscript of the Cantigas de Santa Maria del Rey Alfonso X el Sabio (Songs in praise of Mary of alfonso X the Wise). She describes tuning and playing methods, and lists a short discography of recordings using this rare instrument [zither; harp; chordophone; harpsichord].
“Sla Pa Traden: Music on Transport Wires”: Atle Pakutsch Gundersen. 2 pages; 1 photo; 1 diagram.
The author describes his use of transport wires in Norway as a musical instrument. The transport wires are very long, strong wires traditionally used to transport goods up and down roadless slopes in Norway. By means of tapping on the wires; they are also used to as a rhythmic mode of communication similar to Morse code, for making known physical needs that would then be transported using the same wire. His methods of playing these wires were via bowing and knocking with a triangle beater. This is followed by a description of his performance collaborating with a saxophone quartet, broadcast via ISDN. He continues to explore the sonics of such everyday objects as fog horns, flagpoles, subways; sheeps with bells, etc [additional keywords: drones; found objects].
“The Art of Sound Effects: Pt. 2″: Ray Brunell. 7+ pages; 8 photos; 2 drawings.
In this second part of a two-part article, the author goes into detail accounting the progression of sound fx from the days of Vaudeville through the advent of the radio and finally film and television. He describes the process of using 78 rpm records to store fx and problems that faced those creating fx. This is followed by an account of re-recording technology and processing, including instrumental contributions from among others: Reuben Mamoulian; Don Foster’s Foster Gun; Raymond Scott’s Karloff and Circle Machine, Serial Doorbell, and Clavivox. Corrections to Pt. 1 are listed just following the conclusion of Pt. 2.[additional keywords: Benshi; Analog Waveform Generator; Telharmonum; Jack Foley; Kurzweil K2500; digital processing; soundtracks].
“Just Intonation and My Experiments with Musical Instrument Building”: Jeff Bunting. 2 pages; 4 photos.
The author describe his four instruments (all tuned in just intonation): Electric 12-string Slide Guitar; Two-stringed Electric Viola; Electric Diamond Xylophone (based on the ratios of Harry Partch’s Diamond Marimba); and the Acoustic Lute [additional keywords: Otonalities; Utonalities; Southeast Just Intonation Center; Arp 2500 Analog Synthesizers].
“Instruments of the Cuban National Folkloric Dance Ensemble”: Steve Smith. 2 pages; 1 photo; 1 drawing.
The author offers some historical background on some instrumentation and dances that are part of Cuba’s cultural heritage [additional keywords: clave; guiro; metallophones; marimbula; lamellaphone; sartenes].
“Ramblings”: Bart Hopkin. 2 pages; 3 drawings.
In this article, the author discusses sundry alternative forms for electric pickups on string instruments. With each proposed potential transduction method, Donald Hall, professor of Physics and contributor to EMI shares his thoughts [additional keywords: radar; light sensor; Iron strings; Electromagnetic Soundboard Pickup].
VOLUME 12 #3, MARCH 1997
Letters and Notes. 6 pages; 6 photos; 7 drawings.
Eric Cadesky and Glass Instrument Web site [additional keywords: glass harmonicas; glass bells, glass xylophone]. Adam Mishaga and pyrophones. Karen Rauter and Woodstock Percussion [additional keywords: instruments for children; Anyone Can Whistle; Japanese Koto; African Mbira]. French percussionist periodical: Percussions. Bond Anderson’s musical playground [additional keywords: metallophones; marimba]. Robert Moore’s Drone Machine [additional keywords: suzuki melodians; Southeast Asian Mouth Organ; Irish Uilleann Bagpipes; Scottish Bagpipes]. James Boring and recycled material instruments.
“More Drums For The New Millenium”: Ken Lovelett. 2 pages; 5 photos.
Lovelett describes a few of his drums including: orthogonal lap drum; thumb drum; belli drum; palm drum; finger drum; knee drum; udeck; dumbecks [additional keywords: handheld percussion].
“Industrial Waste and Musical Taste”: Keith Spears. Photos by Jamie Noe. 3 pages; 5 photos.
The author describes two instruments he constructed with material collected from surplus auctions, junk yards, and Radio Shack: 1) drum set with drum pedal made with hammer and assorted cans mounted together with rebar steel rods and “kill box” — a set of on/off switches and 2) the Sampler Table which utilizes answering machine tape loops controlled with foot peddle [additional keywords: percussion; ambient sound; found objects].
“Colin Offord: Mouth Bows, Moonbells and More”: An Interview with Warren Burt. 5 1/2 pages; 7 photos.
A discussion in which Offord describes a number of his instruments including: the Great Island Mouthbow; the Xylopt ( a bailer-shell xylophone), Moonbells (large aluminum and brass bells); the Australasian flute (a Western flute with a bamboo mouthpiece); and the Bambudat (a set of large bamboo log drums). He also describes his performance group, The Great Bowing Company. [Additional keywords: Equal Temperament; kalimba; piano strings; found objects; percussion; marimba; conch shells; metallophones].
“Bertoia”: Chris Rice. 1 1/2 pages; 2 photos.
This article focuses on the late Harry Bertoia, a sound sculptor who released 11 recordings on his Sonambient label. Included are descriptions of 3 of his sonic inventions, 2 of which utilize beryllium copper wires that produce resonant long-lasting sound, with varying guages producing a full array of tonal and timbral qualities. The last of the instruments described are gongs produced by sheets of metal [additional keywords: percussion; drone; ambient; found materials].
“Swift Sounds: Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient LP’s”: Ian Nagoski. 2+pages; 1 photo.
The second of these two articles written the two editors of the cultural music journal halana focuses on Harry Bertoia’s recorded material. Rather than describe each of his recordings, Nagoski gives an overview, a general description, with reference to particular pieces as guide posts [additional keywords: improvisation; ambient; drone].
“Ostenhorn”: Phillip J. Ostendorf with Bart Hopkin. 5 pages; 11 photos.
Ostendorf relays his attempt to create a brasswind instrument able to produce all tones of a complete (Western) scale by control of lip tension alone, without valves, slide, or sideholes, by using additional, tuned air resonator tubes set just over the opening of the bell. His experimentation has led to many interesting creations including a design capable of playing a major scale over two octaves [additional keywords: brass; trumpets; tubas; french horns].
“Walnut Angklung: A 2×4 Contest Entry”: Art Lietsman. 2 pages; 2 photos.
The author describes his entry into the Pacific Woodworkers Guild 2×4 Contest. A traditional Anglung consists of 2 or 3 bamboo tubes an octave apart and suspended in a bamboo frame (Liestman replaced bamboo with walnut). When shaken, a short tab at the bottom of each tube vibrates the tube and sounds the particular note [additional keywords: wood instruments].
“Alchemy In The Nineties. Turning Garbage Into Gold”: Jan Jarvlepp. 3 pages; 3 photos; 3 diagrams.
The author wrote a concerto for recycled garbage and symphony orchestra combining pitched and unpitched instruments. He briefly describes where certain recycled household objects are used throughout the various movements as well as explaining his method of mounting the devices for performance [additional keywords: found objects].
“Ramblings”: Bart Hopkin. 3 pages; 1 photo; 2 diagrams.
Following some background on the intricacies of modes of string excitation and its relationship to the bridge and soundboard, the author describes his experiment building a bridge and soundboard for an acoustic bass guitar.
“Greyworld Sound Sculpture”: Andrew Shoben. 1+ pages; 2 drawings.
Greyworld is an established group of sound artists who create sound installations and sculptures deconstructing traditional notions between work and play. In this article, the members of Greyworld describe three of their recent inventions. The “Soundwall” is made up of a number of mounted vertical bars that play a melody when played in succession. The “Layer” is a carpet or floor covering which translates human movement upon its surface into music by assigning segments MIDI-based sounds which are then walked on. “Shopping” was an installation using sounds extracted from consumer soundscapes.
VOLUME 12 #4, JUNE 1997
Letters and Notes. 8 pages; 2 photos; 5 drawings.
Ray Wilding White: Writes on the influence of the drum set, in response to Ray Brunelle’s article in previous issue on sound effects [additional keywords: trap set; Dee Dee Chandler; Jean Robicheaux]. Colin Hinz: Mechanical Musical Digest. New home for one of the world’s leading collections of historical and contemporary musical instruments: Cite/Musee de la Musique. I AM LISTENING video available: an exhibit of sound sculpture linking the visible with the audible including Charles de Mestral and Raymond Gervis. Frederick Crane: Alessandro Moreschi, The Last Castrato? Tonehole Liberation: Response to June 1996 “Ramblings” from Angel Sampedro del Rio. Susan Rawcliffe’s report on the 1997 NAMM Show. Longwave Instruments, makers of theremins have new instrument: Little Infinite Frequency Expander (LIFE). Peter Etcetera: Hand drawings of instrument ideas with commentary.
“The Free Music Machines of Percy Grainger”: Rainer Linz. 2+ pages.
Perhaps best known in Europe and America as a “traditional” composer/arranger of brass band and English Folk tunes, Grainger’s use of “chance” composition in 1912 in fact predates John Cage. After some historical context including his guiding theory of Free Music, from which all his future ideas would spring, the author describes some of the instruments that were the fruit of Grainger’s collaborations with physicist Burnett Cross. These include: Solovoxes; The Reed-Box Tone-Tool; The Oscillator Playing Tone-tool; The “Hills and Dales” Machine, etc. Linz states that Grainger was never able to achieve his desired theory of Free Music with these or any instruments. He is no doubt a dramatically overlooked figure of the avant-garde. The Grainger Museum is at the University of Melbourne, Australia [additional keywords: chance; atonal; indeterminism].
“The Cat’s Cradle: 50 strings, 82 pickups, and 2 amplifiers”: John Gzowski. 3 pages; 3 photos.
The author describes the building and playing of his instrument comprised of a Chapman Stick-type board with a removable/interchangeable fretboard played somewhat like a guitar and a set of additional sympathetic strings that react to the frequencies from the stick. It also includes an infinite sustain system, not unlike what an E-Bow does [additional keywords: microtonal; equal temperament; harp; sitar].
“The Loop Group Brass”: Ray Wilding-White. 2 pages; 8 photos; 1 diagram.
After inheriting some old brass instruments, the author (with some help) bent and welded them into interesting and unique shapes that were used in performances. Scales for each horn shown [Additional keywords: horns; trumpets; tubas].
“The Sound Art of Robert Raushenberg”: Mike Hovancsek. 1+ pages.
A description of Raushenberg’s forays into the sonic medium. Includes brief description of :Music Box; Broadcast; Oravle; Dynamic Labryinth; Open Score; Soundings; and Mud Muse, many of which were interactive pieces that stressed the unique meeting of each individual with the work [additional keywords: John Cage; Merce Cunningham; Johan Kluver; Jean Tinguely; Niki de Saint-Phalle; Indeterminism].
“Two-Dimensional Keyboard Patterns”: Niles Hokkanen. 4 pages; 14 diagrams.
The author describes the pros and cons of many different tuning layouts, concentrating on accordians, keyboards, and foot-bass pedal board diagrams [additional keywords: organ; piano].
“Circuit-Bending and Living Instruments: The Casio SA-2 Aleatron”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 4 pages; 3 photos.
Reed Ghazala combines several methods of circuit-bending: body-contact control, human voice synthesis, digital samples, the equal temperament scale, in his Aleatron and describes how to modify and manipulate it [additional keywords: aleatoric instruments].
“The Helikon”: Mitchell Clark. 1 page.
Referring to Mount Helikon, home of the muses, this instrument, following the simpler Monochord, is known to have been used for demonstration, in basic geometric terms, of the harmonic relationships of the perfect consonances plus the tone: 2/1; 3/2; 4/3; and 9/8. The author explains the geometric format [additional keywords: stringed instruments; lyres; zithers; Ptolemy; Aristedes Quintilianus; Didymus].
“Book Reviews”: Mitchell clark and Bart Hopkin.
Robert Green: The hurdy-Gurdy in 18th Century France. Includes brief discography in review [additional keywords: stringed instruments; Baroque Era; drone; lutes; guitars].
Michael J. Pagliano: Everything You Should Know About Musical Instruments But Didn’t Have Time To Learn [additional keywords: Instrument Manufacturers; flutes; clarinets; saxophones; oboes; basoons; brass; violins].
Reynold Weidenaar: Magic Music From The Telharmonium [additional keywords: keyboards; Hammond Organs; Thaddeus Cahill].