Volumes 9-10 (1993-1995)
This page contains synopses of articles appearing in the Experimental Musical Instruments journal, Volumes 9 and 10.
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VOLUME 9 # 1 SEPTEMBER 1993
Letters and Notes: 6 pages; 5 drawings and 2 photos.
Hugh Davies: Theremin. Warren Burt: Theremin. Blake Mitchell: Bass Tubulon. Baschet’s Flutter Moths. Circus World Museum in Wisconsin. Darrell De Vore’s comments on kid’s toy, ‘groan tubes,’ Jew’s Harps
“Tumbas, Rumba Boxes, and Bamboo Flutes: Caribbean Instruments by Rupert Lewis”: Bart Hopkin. 3 pages; 5 photos.
The first in the series of articles focusing on Jamaican instruments. This article describes the instrument maker, Rupert Lewis and his instruments, which consist of tumbas, a drum similar to the conga, rumba boxes, a large lamellaphone related to the African mbira and sideblown diatonic flutes. [Additional keywords: congas, lamellaphones, thumb pianos, marimbulas]
“The Giant Lamellaphones: A Global Perspective”: Richard Graham. 3 pages; 1 photos and 1 drawing.
This article traces the history and origins of giant lamellaphones — bass kalimbas also known as rumba boxes or marimbulas — focusing on the development of the instruments in African and the African diaspora. [Additional keywords: mbiras, thumb pianos, rumba boxes, marimbulas]
“Music By Mailorder”: Mike Hovancsek. 3 pages.
A list of mail order companies specializing in unusual musical instruments. Makers and companies, rangiong from the experimental instruments of Q.R. Ghazala and Richard Waters to the medieval, folk and world instruments of Kelischek Workshop, Hughes Dulcimer Co. and Lark in the Morning, to ‘hard-to-find’ animal materials of the Boone Trading Company are mentioned.
“Of Bowhammers and Palmharps, Conundrums and Kabalis: Mike Masley’s Urboriginal Innovations”: L. Maxwell Taylor. 3 pages; 4 photos.
An article on Michael Masley and his modified world instruments. His work includes the invention of unique bowhammers (special string-sounding devices that contrast greatly with the usual wooden hammers associated with the Hungarian cimbalom), the Palmharp (an idiophone strung with rubber bands and metallic strings), the Kabali (a modified dumbek) and glass panpipes. [Additional keywords: hammer dulcimers, dumbeks, panpipes]
“The Sound Hunter” Roman Pawlowski. 3 pages; 3 photos and 2 drawings.
The author focuses on the instruments of Martien Groeneveld of Amsterdam and the influences that the sea, city and street have on the maker as well as how his instruments parody conventional ones. Groeneveld’s instruments include the Giant Xylophone, the Sea Machine, the Roof-tile-o-phone, and the Volkswagen-beetle-harp.
“Circuit-Bending and Living Instruments: Vox Insecta”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 3 pages; 3 photos.
This article focuses on an insect-voice synthesizer called the Vox Insecta that was built to replicate insect sounds. Also included are details on how it operates and its design as well as how to construct one yourself and a classification of insect sounds.
“Systems for Non-Linear Instruments and Notation” Part Two: Dan Senn. 5 pages; 4 photos, 1 score, 2 tables and 1 diagram.
In part 1 of this article, appearing in the previous issue, author Dan Senn described some ideas that have been important to him in sound sculpture work, and and showed how these ideas manifest themselves in his own work and that of several other selected sound sculptors. Here in part 2, the composer and instrument builder gives the background to the creation of his piece, Scrapercussion #8, by explaining how finding the materials of instrumentation for the piece helped formulate his non-linear score. Also included is a description of the design and workings of some of his sound sculpture, such as the Four Harpoons, instruments that incorporate found objects, nylon thread and PVC piping, and Ten Too Lips, made of threaded rods and metal washers which ride downward as they spin loosely down along the threads of the rods. [Additional keywords: sound sculpture, found objects, fayfer harp, schmoos harp, flutter harp]
“Instruments from the Marx Colony”: Bart Hopkin. 5 pages; 15 photos and pictures.
This article features the Marx Music Company, an instrument-making company from the early part of the 20th century. The company’s history and a description of their instruments and designs are featured. Some of the instruments described are the Marxophone, an autoharp instrument that incorporates the use of hammers, the Violin-uke, a wire zither that is strummed as well as bowed, and the Aqua-Lin, a small zither that incorporates simultaneous bowing and hammering. [Additional kyewords: Pik-nik, simplified violin, Elderly Instruments]
Book Reviews. 3 pages
Margaret Kartomi: On Concepts and Classifications of Musical Instruments.
Rene van Peer: Interviews with Sound Artists Taking Part in the festival ECHO.
Jan Rose and Rainer Linz: The Pink Violin: A Portrait of an Australian Musical Dynasty
VOLUME 9 # 2 DECEMBER 1993
Letters and Notes: 3 pages; 3 photos and 1 diagram.
Gino Robair: brick xylophone. Ivor Darreg’s recent letters. Andy Cox ‘s Lamellaphones.
“The 13 Tone Ensemble” and “Just Intonation Cardboard Bongos”: Buzz Kimball. 1 page; 2 photos.
A brief description of a 13 tone tubulon (steel conduit marimba) and justly tuned cardboard-tubing drums. [Additional keywords: alternative tunings, microtonality, found objects, tubulongs, tubalongs]
“Sugar Belly Walker and the Bamboo Saxophone”: Bart Hopkin. 3 pages; 3 photos and 3 drawings.
The second in the series of articles focusing on Jamaican instruments. This article gives a history and description of the instrument maker and performer Sugar Belly, and his Bamboo Saxophone. Also featured is a commentary by a Hawaiian bamboo saxophone maker, Brian Whittman, and his creation of the Xaphoon.
“Deagan Organ Chimes”: Bart Hopkin. 7 pages; 10 photos and 4 drawings.
An article on the giant metal chimes constructed by J.C. Deagan and Company. The instruments, that bare a striking resemblance to the Indonesian bamboo anklung, are described physically. Their history, starting with their origins in the early 20th century, is discussed. An account of the surviving instruments and an important appendix on air resonance tuning for the chimes is also featured.
“Extended Wind Instruments from Warren Burt and Brigid Burke”: Warren Burt. 2 pages; 7 photos.
The author relates his experiments with extended wind instruments, using plastic tubing and other components attached to various wind instruments like the clarinet , flute and tin whistle. The instruments result in different microtonal scales, multiphonics and harmonics that also require new playing techniques. [Additional keywords: microtonality, extended techniques]
“Circuit-Bending and Living Instruments: The Sound Dungeon”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 4 pages; 3 photos and 1 diagram.
This article focuses on electro-acoustic spring chambers, most notably on the author’s Sound Dungeon, which is a kind of spring reverb chamber. Also included are details on how it operates and its design as well as how to construct one yourself.
“Relating Timbre and Tuning”: Bill Sethares. 8 pages; 19 diagrams and tables.
A technical article on finding scales for nonharmonic timbres and timbres for equal tempered scales. Reference is made to acousticians such as Hemholtz, as well as Plomp and Levelt, and their explanations of consonance. The author gives details on calculating dissonance curves and finding their properties and constructing scales appropriate to timbre. Details for a Microsoft BASIC program are also included for calculating dissonance curves. The ideas discussed in this article were later developed in full in the author’s groundbreaking book, Tuning, Timbre, Spectrum, Scale, available through the EMI Amazon-affiliate bookstore on this web site. [Additional keywords: microtonality, dissonance curves, timbre ]
“Spherical Epoxy Resonators”: Drew Pear. 2 Pages; 1 drawing.
The author explains the construction of spherical resonators made with balloons and epoxy. His materials and equations to determine the proper diameter of the resonators are shown as well as a detailed section on the process of application of epoxy to the balloons. [Additional keywords: marimbas]
“A Bamboo Organ” and “Electric Una-Fon Makes Music to Beat the Band”: articles reprinted from ‘The Etude’ and ‘The Electrical Experimenter’. 1 page; 2 pictures.
Two short articles on unusual instruments from early periodicals. The first is about a bamboo organ in the Philippines and the second about an early electric keyboard instrument similar in sound to a pipe organ.
“A 34-Equal Guitar”: Larry A. Hanson. 1 page; 1 photo.
A short explanation of Hanson’s guitar which has been refretted to produce the 34-tone equal temperament scale. The author suggests that this scale offers a good approximation of just intonation tunings. He explains that the tuning shines in regards to the use of major/ minor thirds and modulation to different keys. He details his tuning of the strings and the naming of new tones. [Additional keywords: microtonality, equal temperament, frets, refretting]
Book Reviews. 1 + pages
Will Ditrich: The Mills College Gamelan: Si Darius and Si Madeleine
Anthony Baines: The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments
VOLUME 9 # 3 MARCH 1994
Letters and Notes: 5 pages; 7 photos.
Mike Hovancsek: P.W. Schreck’s ‘piano harp’. Richard Selman: Caribbean Marimbula. Don Loweree: Tunnel Resonance. Hugh Davies: Theremin and Bamboo Organ. Arthur K. Ferris’ String Instruments. Ken Butler’s Headboard Grand Piano. Jean-Claude Chapuis’ Glass Instruments. Alex Jordan’s House on the Rock.
“Elemental Mallet Instruments”: Jim Doble. 3 pages; 6 photos and 1 drawing.
The author relates the history of his instruments and how he went about building them and addressing issues such as tuning. A description of the percussion instruments follows focusing on instruments such as the Rockadinda (an instrument consisting of pieces of stone or old roofing slate on maple burl) and the Monkey Gong (a propane tank hit on the tongues to produce two tones). The author also gives details on wood xylophone construction. [Additional keywords: marimba]
“The Bamboolin: A Jamaican Idiochord Zither”: Bart Hopkin. 4 pages; 1 photo and 2 drawings.
The third in a series on Jamaican musical instruments. The bamboolin is a bowed idiochord in which a thin strip is lifted with two bridges from its bamboo body to produce the ‘strings’ to bow. Discussed is a history of the creator, Jonathan Brown, the instrument’s materials and bridges, and a survey of related instruments, such as the Malaysian keranting, African mvet and the Malagasy valiha. Also included is information on making idiochords (instruments whose strings are of a piece with the body of the instrument, rather than being of separate material): lifting the fibers, determining the width and thickness of the string, and techniques for sounding.
“The Benta: An African-Derived Glissed Idiochord Zither of Eastern Jamaica”: Richard Graham. 3 pages; 2 photos and 2 drawings.
This article is about the benta, a traditional glissed idiochord zither of bamboo (similar to the bamboolin described above, but much larger and with a very different playing technique), and the methods to construct and play one . The author also focuses on the instrument in its social and cultural context, and provides a thorough bibliography.
“Report from the Cloud Eight Archive of Musical Instruments and Fortean Musicology”: Davey Williams. 3 pages; 6 drawings.
A sampling of some of the obscure sound devices (actually non-existent, fanciful, surrealistic and humorous) found in cataloging the archive of Cloud Eight. Some of those mentioned are the Sonic Painting Device, the Musical Hunter’s Animal Startling Device and the Drink-Mixing Hydraulic Harmonicum.
“Two Hardware Store Instruments”: Barry Hall. 2 pages; 3 photos; 1 diagram.
The author relates how to build two simple idiophones from common items. In the Flower Pot-O-Phone, flowerpots are mounted on a three-tier frame providing stability and easy access. In the Washer Chimes, several washers with small holes drilled in them are hung from wooden bar giving off a sound similar to Tibetan tingsha cymbals. [Additional keywords: flowerpots, homemade instruments, idiophones]
“Environment and Process”: Marlin Halverson. 5 pages; 10 photos; 1 drawing.
This article focuses on the work of artist Mineko Grimmer and her sound sculpture installations. A description of the visual and sonic aspects of her ice sculptures with bamboo, pebbles and wood are given alongside a history of performances and showings as well as comments on how the work engages and interacts with the gallery environment.
“Circuit-Bending and Living Instruments: Inverters”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 3 pages; 4 photos.
Ghazala discusses two versions of his Inverters, digital sample boxes that are appropriate for off-trail music making. A detailed description of the existing instruments is given as well as information on how the instruments work. [Additional keywords: digital sampling ]
“Novelty Instruments from the Early Days at Mussehl & Westphal”: Bart Hopkin. 5 pages; 8 photos and 8 drawings.
An article on Mussehl & Westphal, a musical saw company of the 1920s. The company’s history is given, with descriptions of some of its other offbeat inventions, such as the Musical Pitchfork, a one stringed instrument played with a pick or bow, and the Jazz-O-Nette, a slide whistle. [Additional keywords: novelty instruments]
VOLUME 9 # 4 JUNE 1994
Letters: 5 pages; 7 photos and 3 drawings.
Mineko Grimmer: Aeolian Harp story. Michael Meadows: Conventional instruments. Pete Hurney: Anklung related. Robin Gill: Dan bau. Ken Lovelett: Nagarra drums. Matthew Reynolds: Sound chambers. Art Finigan: Mando-Zither-Harp. Ivor Darreg in Memoriam: Jonathan Glasier, John Chalmers, Garry Morrison and B. McLaren pay respects.
“Bamboo Brass in the Minahassa”: Robert Boonzajer Floes. 6 pages; 7 photos and 3 drawings.
This article relates how Dutch missionaries in Minahassa, a part of Sulawesi in Indonesia, simultaneously caused a collapse of indigenous music and gave rise to the appearance of imitation brass instruments built in bamboo among the islanders. There is a focus on various ensembles and instruments, such as the Korno, Bambu Melulu, Bambu Seng and simple diatonic instruments. Pitch is discussed as well as how the instruments are played and what music is performed and its relation to village life.
“Bill Colvig”: Sasha Bogdanowitsch. 4 pages; 11 photos and 1 drawing.
Instrument builder Bill Colvig is famous for igniting the American Gamelan movement along with composer Lou Harrison. The author gives the reader Colvig’s history and descriptions of many of his instruments, such as the Monochord, Standing Harp, Psaltery, a plucked zither and Suling: PVC constructions modeled after the Indonesian reed flutes.
“Software-O-Phones: Homemade Software Instruments”: Henry Lowengard. 3 pages; 4 pictures.
An article featuring the creation of experimental software instruments by using the Commodore Amiga. The author describes several programs: 1) RGS: A program that paints sonograms by use of spectral analysis, 2) HARM: a program that creates sound effects digitally and 3) LYR: a MIDI controller that acts like an autoharp. [Additional keywords: computer instruments]
“The Bellatope”: Ken Lovelett. 1 page; 1 photo.
The author explains how he accumulated and assembled his Bellatope, a conglomeration of percussion instruments arrayed in the shape of an amphitheater. He discusses the playing of the assemblage, and what it enables him to do. [Additional keywords: drums, cymbals, bells, Protocussion]
“Mechanical Instruments: History of an Obsession”: Penelope Mathiesen. 7 pages; 7 pictures.
A history of mechanical music, first focusing on definitions of terms, then on particular instruments like the barrel organ (a mechanized pumped organ), various sorts of automata (figures that play music on actual instruments), orchestrions (a mechanical devices that play multiple instruments), as well as musical boxes and player pianos.
“Circuit-Bending and Living Instruments: The Video Octavox”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 5 pages; 3 photos and 1 picture.
An article focusing on musical automata with a major example in Tippoo’s Tiger, an east Indian sound-making artifact in the shape of a tiger eating a man. Ghazala gives reference to other known automatic musical instruments, and then focuses on one of his own, the Video Octavox, which uses video tapes to trigger photo-cells which activate eight oscillators.
“Notes on Custom Pickup Winding and the Quest for Resonance”: Steve Ball. 3 pages; 6 photos.
An article on electromagnetic pickups and the process of building custom ones. The focus is on the author’s instruments, the Industrial-Strength Dulcimer and Elation Instiller, which are stringed instruments with pickups. In the follow-up article to this one, appearing in the next issue (EMI Volume 10 #1, Sept. 1994), the author gives detailed how-to for constructing your own electromagnetic pickup.
“A Piano for Invalids” and “Dream of a Salesman”. Reprinted from The Etude magazine, probably early 20th century.
Reprints of two very brief articles taken from a now-defunct music magazine. One describes a piano keyboard somehow positioned over a bed for convenient playing while reclining; the other describes a multiple violin bow which, in conjunction with a modified bridge on the violin, allows the player to sound all four strings at once.
Book Reviews. 1/2 page
Christine Armengaud: La Musique Verte: Appeaux, Sifflets, Crecelles
VOLUME 10 #1, SEPTEMBER 1994
Letters and Notes. 3 pages; 1 drawing.
C. Reider: Electronic signals made by the brain, compact disc as instrument [additional keywords: cochlear implant; destroyed compact discs]. Jeff Kassel: mouth music [additional keywords: membranophones/aerophones; idiophones]. Francois Baschet: technical drawing and directions for simple water whistles. Mitchell Clark on Tippoo’s Tiger by Mildred Archer. Information on Memorial Fund and Collected writings by microtonal theorist Ivor Darreg. Musica Getutscht by Sebastion Virdung in 1511 covers early work on instruments in Europe. Theremins still available through Bob Moog. Radio show on unusual sound: One Tone, Two Tones, Overtones on Canadian Broadcasting System. Bill & Mary Buchen with book: Urban Sound Park Design and video: Sounds (Like India) [additional keywords: Sonic Architecture; automatic temple bells; prayer wheels; cows]. Leon Gruenbaum & The Samchillean Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeeeee keyboard.
“Fire Music”: Introduction Bart Hopkin. 1 page; 1 drawing.
A brief description of how to build a fire organ using flame (propane torch) and glass tube(s) and why it creates sound; scientific help from Donald Hall; brief bibliography. This article, with additional materials, can be viewed on EMI’s web site (http://www.windworld.com/emi). [additional keywords: pyrophones].
“Michel Moglia’s Fire Organ”: Etiye Dimma Poulsen. 1 page; 2 photos.
A brief description of the Fire Organ, an instrument consisting of 250-300 open-ended stainless steel tubes played by placing a propane torch in one end; contrasts Moglia’s Fire Organ with other pyrophones .This and the following articles, with other additional materials, can be viewed on EMI’s web site (http://www.windworld.com/emi). [additional keywords: aleatoric effects; untempered octaves; thermal chants].
“Michel Moglia’s Thermal Chants: The Infinite Vibration of The Flame, of Time and Life…”: Michel Moglia (Translation Etiye Dimma Poulsen). 1/2 page.
In connection with the previous article, a brief description of Moglia’s philosophy behind Thermal Chants and his wish to stretch outside our cultural system [additional keyword: Chance; Randomness].
“Trimpin”: Trimpin. 1/2 page.
Trimpin gives a short account of his attempts to use flames with his Charged Piano and Fire Organ (a pyrophone, not to be confused with that of M.Moglia). [additional keywords: electromagnet; aural/visual effects of flames].
“Playing With Pyrophones”: Norman Andersen. 3 pages; 6 photos; 1 drawing.
Andersen outlines his experiments building pyrophones, including his own Siren, with many kitchen and gas appliances [additional keywords: glass harmonicas].
“More on The Deagan Chimes and My Father’s Stone Chimes, Too” by Ellen Schultze. 2 1/2 pages; 3 photos; 1 drawing.
In a follow-up to article on the Deagan Organ Chimes article in December 1993 issue, Ellen chronicles her experiences as a child hearing Reverend Alley’s Triple Octave Shaker Chimes and her subsequent 48-year search for them and for Deagan Organ Chimes. Also included: and a description of her father’s (James F. Cooper) Singing Stones, which are used to perform traditional Christian songs [additional keywords: vibraphones; marimbas; lithophones, American Bell Association].
“Aeolian Harps” by Sasha Bogdanowitsch. 2 1/2 pages; 3 photos; 2 drawings.
In this 1st part of a series, this article serves as a preface to the articles that follow by John Oughton and Ros Bandt, and others. Bogdanowitsch gives the primarily Western historical account of Aeolian Harps. Cited by Homer in 800 B.C. as deriving from the sound of wind blowing on dried animal entrails and later popular in Germany in the 1800s. Wind sounds the harmonics of the fundamental notes that the strings are tuned to. Also a brief description of Bogdanowitsch’s own version, the Ski Harp [additional keywords: wind zither].
“The Story of Aeolian Harps”: John Oughton. 2 pages; 1 photo; 2 diagrams.
After a short outline of which harmonics will sound and which fundamentals will not, Oughton gives an account of materials, assembly instructions, and advice on how to place aeolian harps for optimum sound/volume [additional keywords: aliquot parts; wind harp].
“The Aeolian Harps: Ancient Roots” by Ros Bandt. 1 1/2 pages; 2 photos; 1 diagram.
Bandt describes her goals and the making of a wind harp — actually comprised of six subsidiary harps — at Redcliffs in Victoria, Austria [additional keywords; wind harp; zither; pentatonic, double-unison strings].
“The McLean Mix Muses upon the Ultimate Musical Instrument” by Priscilla & Barton McLean. 4 pages; 5 photos.
The McLeans describe their evolution as composers, beginning with analog synthesizers, incorporating nature sounds, and finally bridging the two with their own invented instruments (i.e. The Amplified & Processed Bicycle Wheel; The Clariflute; Glacial Rocks; and The Sparkling Light Console) which they describe in some detail [additional keywords: Synthi 100 Synthesizer; whale music; Gagaku ensemble].
“Electro Magnetic Pickup Design and Construction Techniques” by Steve Ball. 4 1/2 pages; 8 photos; 4 diagrams.
In conjunction with a previous article (EMI Vol. 9#4, June 1994) summarizing Ball’s experiences designing and building electromagnetic pickups for stringed instruments, this article outlines in great detail the construction of a dual-coil, or “humbucking” pickup [additional keywords: guitar pickups].
“The Qing Lithophones of China” by Mitchell Clark. 7 pages; 5 photos; 3 drawings.
A thorough historical account and description beginning with the Shang and Zhou periods through to the Qing Dynasty and finally to present attempts to preserve the tradition of these stone instruments. Mentions shapes, materials, ritual usage, references in texts, extensive footnotes and bibliography [additional keywords: goong lu; chalcophonos; bayin; zhong bells].
“Activities To Date at ASFi Music Works” by Colin Hinz. 5 pages; 9 photos.
Hinz names and describes some compositional techniques and his own (anti)musical devices, some (i.e. The Rotary Club; Turntable One) incorporating Meccanion parts (the European and Canadian name for what in the U.S. is called Erector Set). Among his inventions are The Scrampler, an altered Casio SK-1, The Piandemonium, which utilizes hand-built electronics to strike a sequence of 4096 notes of equal duration on a “harp” made of the insides of a piano, and a Christian Marclay-inspired experiment, cutting and reassembling pieces of vinyl to make tortured, but playable (barely) records. [additional keywords: Mecanno set; electrocageism; cyberserialism; AudioSteriser].
“A Short Introduction To The Bambuso Sonoro”: Hans van Koolwijk (Translated by John Lydon). 1 1/2 pages; 2 photos.
The Bambuso Sonoro is an instrument comprised of more than one hundred flutes, some of them very long, controlled by variable wind pressure generated by a ventilator that feeds various chambers. With an incredibly broad harmonic spectrum, capable of producing single, thin tones and an enormous mass of sound, it also causes chance subsidiary sounds, rhythmic patterns, and glissandos [additional keywords: bamboo, bird flutes; glissando flutes].
VOLUME 10 #2, DECEMBER 1994
Letters and Notes. 4 pages. 6 photos.
Pete Hurney: Wooden Congas. F. Baschet: Historical Notes on Chemical Harmonica [additional keywords: Flame Organ; Harmonica Thermique/Chimique]. Steve Ball: Stress-relieving metal strap instrument. Marion B. Cox & Ellen Schultze meet for a Deagan Organ Chime Duet. William Steinmayer and The FlamePhone, The Electroman Flame Speaker; booklet available on The Flame Speaker. 64 tuned bronze bells, stone chimes (qing), zithers, and drums discovered with Marquis Yi’s tomb (5th Century Chenese Ruler). Grant Strombeck with photos and brief explanations of 3 invented instruments [additional keywords: Flexy protuberance; The Orb]. Jonathan Purcell and Wave Access’ Wave Rider: a system for translating brainwaves and electrical impulses into music. Ros Bandt’s booklet, Creative Approaches to Interactive Technology in Sound Art available on Deakin Press.
“Aeolian Harps: One Person’s Experience”: Tom Pearce. 2 pages; 5 photos; 1 drawing.
Pearce theorizes on the multiplicity of goals and variables inherent in building an aeolian harp and suggests variables with which he has had the most success. Suggests number and kind of strings, shape of sound box, type of wood, vanes, and location.
“Some Techniques For Amplifying Wind Harps”: Richard Lerman. 4 pages; 8 diagrams/ technical drawings.
An investigation into the amplification of micro-sounds of the natural world with a piezo electric disks led to exploring wind harp potentials. Site-specific wind harps in Newfoundland, Japan, Peru, and California. With rather thorough directions on how to use piezo disks for wind harps and natural elements.
“Nature Sounds Recording and Use”: Catherine Girardeau. 1 1/2 pages.
Second in a series on nature sounds, Girardeau seeks meaning in the rising popularity of natural sound at California Library of Natural Sounds (CLNS), linking it to sense of place, ecological concerns, psychoacoustics, and John Cage’s theories of accidental conjunction and found composition. Emphasis placed on Bernard Krause’s “Niche Hypothesis,” which concentrates not on individual sounds but rather an environmental orchestra, as among other things, an acoustical message about the habitat’s biological health. Includes Resource list [additional keywords: bioacoustics; Douglas Quin, Paul Matzner].
“For Paul Panhuysen: On His 60th Birthday, August 21, 1994″: Douglas Quin. 1 1/2 pages.
After a brief description of environment and discussion of ecological concerns resembling a journal entry, Quin recounts a trek for ambient nature sound in Amazonas, Brazil. The destination being a NASA observatory now in control by INPA National Institute For Amazon Research [additional keywords: ambient recordings; Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems Project; World Wildlife Fund].
“Natural Wind Chimes”: Steve Heitzeg. 2 pages; 5 photos; 1 drawing.
An essay in which Heitzeg rejects the duality and consequent division of self and nature and emphasizes the inter-connectedness of the two. His wind chimes made of natural materials are featured.
“The Morphium and Strange Earth Voices”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 5 1/2 pages; 2 photos; 5 engravings.
After a brief preliminary discussion of mysterious Earth noises, Ghazala describes his Morphium. The Morphium is an aleatoric electric instrument made by circuit-bending a children’s toy with animal and railroad track sounds [additional keywords: mistpouffers; Barisal Guns; Moodus noises; meteor sounds; sample banks; conductive flesh contacts; potentiometers, variable resistors].
“Metallophone Construction”: Bill Colvig. 2 pages; 1 photos; 2 diagrams.
A companion piece to both an article on Colvig’s instruments in June 1994 issue and a short history of metallophones that follows. Here, Colvig gives a very brief history of tubular metallophones, before giving instructions for a simple metallophone using electrical steel tubing. He briefly discusses various scales with accompanying measurements [additional keywords: fang-hsiang; diatonic scales; tetrachord tone patterns].
“Tubulonia”: Bart Hopkin. 4 1/2 pages; 2 drawings; 1 diagrams.
After a brief history of metal tubular chimes, mostly focusing on intonational explorations of the 1970s and the variations built by Lou Harrison and Bill Colvig, Erv Wilson, and others, the article focuses on general considerations in design and construction, including: choosing tubing material, tubing dimensions and proportions, tuning methods, ways of increasing volume, and mounting techniques [additional keywords: tubaphones; J.C. Deagan; microtonalists; tubulongs; oscilloscopes; 13th Harmonic/Indonesian Pelog Scale].
Book Reviews. 1 1/2 pages.
David Doty: The Just Intonation Primer [additional keywords: tuning theory].
Ralph David Hill: Sounds of Just Intonation: Introduction to Nontraditional Harmony [additional keywords: aural effects].
“The Experimental Sound Studio Invented Instruments Ensemble”: Hal Rammel. 3 pages; 5 photos.
A brief description of Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio. Started in workshops in 1990, the emphasis is on designing, building, and playing unique acoustic sound sources using recycled and found materials. Includes brief descriptions of instruments used for a performance in 1993 [additional keywords: graphic notation].
VOLUME 10 #3, MARCH 1995
Letters and Notes. 3 pages; 1 photo; 1 diagram.
Ellen Schultze: The list of Deagan Organ Chimes keeps growing. Classic book of homemade instruments, Sound Designs, available again. Mandala percussion: new mail order catalog of unusual or hard to find instruments. String master software available, used for string scaling. Ernst Zacharias’ Tunable Jaw Harp. Ken Wisecup’s One String Bass and The Cedar Shop.
“The Alfalfa Viola”: Hal Rammel. 1 page; 1 diagram.
A short description of George C. Haium’s rustic Alfalfa Viola: a single-string three-tined pitchfork with lard can and cigar box resonators, built in the 1920s.
“The Apache Violin: An Ancient Instrument Moves Into a New Century”: Chesley Goseyun Wilson, Ruth Longcor-Harnisch Wilson, & Bryan Burton. 4 pages; 4 photos; 2 diagrams.
An account of the origins of the Tsii’edo’a'tl, or Apache Violin, a cylindrical section of agave plant with one string said to sound like a cross between a flute and dulcimer. With simple building instructions and description of dimensions and characteristics, its use in ceremonial songs and healing rituals from one of the finest builders, Chesley Goseyun Wilson [additional keywords: chengni; ki'zh ki'zh di hi; pitch bending].
“More Tubulonia: Conduit”: Stephan Golovnin. 1 3/4 pages; 6 drawings.
Following the more basic article in EMI December 1994 on Tubulongs, Golovnin gives instructions and advice on his conduit Marimbas including his “Kreteg Layang.”
“Fork Chimes and Everly Chimes”: Bart Hopkin. 2 1/4 pages; 4 drawings.
A description and basic instructions for Everly Chimes, a single metal tube with two fundamental tones and a desired ‘beating’ affect; and Fork Chimes: a single chime that produces a rainbow of tones [additional keywords: directional rigidity differential; tubulongs].
“Tube Instruments”: Daniel Schmidt. 1 1/2 pages; 1 drawing.
Schmidt makes some suggestions to control ‘beating’, his use of 6061 alloy aluminum, and discusses unpredictable overtones [additional keywords: EMT/electrical conduit].
“The Wind Enters The Strings: Poetry and Poetics of Aeolian Qin”: Mitchell Clark. 3 1/2 pages; 1 photo; 4 drawings.
An essay, citing poems from as far back as 223 AD, on the Chinese qin zither, and the Chinese poetic tradition of qin-qi-shi-shu-hua, in which he has found several references to the instrument being sounded by the wind alone. With notes, including sources [additional keywords: fengzheng; zithers; quqin; shang; feng ru; hui].
“The Flame Componium and Reflections on the Pyrophone”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 6 1/2 pages; 9 drawings/engravings.
After a brief discussion of various sound-sensitive pyrophones built around the turn of the century, Reed Ghazala goes on to propose his imaginary Flame Componium and Pyrotechnic Color Organ, both devices that would react visually to sound occurring around them [additional keywords: manometric flames; chemical harmonicas; sensitive flames; musical flames].
“The Banjo King”: Frank Holmfield. 3 pages; 9 drawings/graphic reproductions.
Part of EMI’s ongoing series of reprinted early magazine articles, this article published in 1901 tells the tale of a South African, Mr. Franco Piper, heralded as the King of Banjoists for his ability to juggle four banjos and play them simultaneously so as to create an affect not unlike church bells.
“Bamboo: The Giant Musical Grass”: Richard Waters. 3 pages; 2 graphics.
In this 1st of 3 articles on Bamboo, Waters lists species and characteristics of bamboo utilized in instrument design as well as giving some advice on growing bamboo [bambusas; American Bamboo Society].
“The Sound Merchant”: John Herron. 1/2 page; 2 photos.
Instructions and description of the Singing Pot Lid Tree, an instrument consisting of a set of aluminum pot lids mounted on an aluminum tube played by bowing with a violin or bass bow. It can be amplified with a microphone and the sound may be enhanced with electronic effects [glass harmonica].
“Sound Symposium 7: Field Report”: Tom Nunn. 1 1/2 pages.
Tom Nunn describes his experience at the 7th Sound Symposium at St. John’s, Newfoundland [additional keywords: music festivals].
VOLUME 10 #4, JUNE 1995
Letters and Notes. 3 pages; 1 photo; 13 drawings.
Richard Waters: Comments on unidentified Earth sounds. The blending of clear pitch and unpitched noise [additional keywords: noise]. Deagan Triple Toned Golden Chimes and Mr. P. Waldo Davis. Helmholtz resonator; amphora. Ivor Darreg’s Detwelvuvate. Making Simple Musical Instruments by Bart Hopkin available through Lark Books.
“Nature on Record”: Rene van Peer. 3 pages.
Part 1 in a series, this essay focuses primarily on recordings of bird sounds as well as making mention of recordings of frogs and insects. Includes discography.
“Augustus Stroh and the Famous Stroh Violin or The Inventors of Abnormalities in the Field of Violin-Building Have Not Yet Become Extinct”: Cary Clements. 7 1/2 pages; 10 photos; 5 drawings.
A thorough historical account of the inventions of Augustus Stroh, focusing on his most famous instrument, a violin with an aluminum diaphragm and large trumpet horn to amplify it. Gives a brief description of early recording techniques at the turn of the century as well as his ventures with phono- and telegraphs [additional keywords: concertina; high speed telegraph; tinfoil phonograph; phonofiddle].
“Call For The Hidden Sounds”: Johannes Bergmark. 6 1/2 pages; 17 pages.
Bergmark describes many of his invented instruments and theorizes about the inadequacy of most ‘composed music,’ calling for a more random, unpredictable process. [Additional keywords: butter bass; forked silver tongue; hedgehog; double trumpet; finger violin].
“Crow-Quill and ‘Cat’-Gut: The Lautenwerk and Its Reconstruction”: Mitchell Clark. 1+ pages.
A brief description and historical background of the Lautenwerk, or “lute-harpsichord,’ an offshoot of the harpsichord in which the utilized strings are made of gut. Clark also reviews two recent recordings which use reconstructed versions and which include a few pieces by J.S. Bach, who was known to have owned examples of this instrument [additional keywords: Kim Heindel; Gergely Sarkozy]
“Miscellany”: Bart Hopkin. 1 1/2 pages; 2 photos; 2 drawings.
A presentation of notes, advice, and observations on twist-tuning: a technique especially suitable for harps and lyres wherein a single string is doubled back on itself, and held together at the tuning end by a cross-piece or yoke, and twisted to form in effect a single wound-together string which can be tuned by twisting more or less [overwinding; styro-harp].
“Speed Bump Music (The Work of Tim Buckett)”: Mike Hovancsek. 1 page.
An introduction to the work of sound sculptor Tim Buckett in a brief description of one of his ideas: speed bump music. This would be made by arranging the sounds created by wheels going over speed bumps.
Book Reviews. 2 pages.
Claire Jones: Making Music: Musical Instruments in Zimbabwe Past and Present [additional keywords: idiophones; marimbas; Shona Chizambe].
David Hogan Smith: Reed Design For Early Woodwinds [additional keywords: shawm; curtal; crummhorn].
Martin Vogel: On The Relations of Tone [additional keywords: intonational theory; graphic symbols/notation; frequency ratios].
“Hunting Down A New Sound: Modified Game Calls and Predator Calls”: Jonathan Chang. 1 page.
The author describes the oft overlooked sonic source of game and predator calls, very similar to reed instruments, and ways to modify them [additional keywords: shawm; oboe].
“Circuit Bending & Living Instruments: The Trigon Incantor”: Qubais Reed Ghazala. 5 1/2 pages; 6 photos. 3 drawings.
After a brief preliminary discussion of the beauty of chance and the rhythm of trains on tracks, Reed Ghazala goes on the describe his Trigon Incantor (see his article on the Incantor in EMI September 1992). The Trigon Incantor is an aleatoric electronic instrument made by deliberately applying random pressure using 2″ steel balls to the surface of the electronic children’s toy Touch and Tell. He also describes his manipulation of a piano which he refers to as the harmonic mute system, which creates harmonic overtones not unlike Cage’s prepared pianos [additional keywords: indeterminacy; Speak & Spell; human voice synthesizers].
“Bamboo: The Giant Musical Grass”: Richard Waters. 3 pages; 1 photo; 1 drawing.
The 2nd of 3 articles on bamboo, the 1st of which deals with species of bamboo and the 3rd of which deals with musical uses for bamboo. In this one Waters discusses optimum growing conditions, propagation, and ways of harvesting and curing.