Sound Object


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due in class on February 6th

4 points

Bring a material or object to class that will become the basis for your contact mic instrument.

Read about the “2-hour Instrument” exercise below and take some time and think about what kind of instrument you want to make. Will it have strings, tines, membranes, textures? Will it be a complete performance system or is it meant to be performed with other instruments?

If you end up changing directions during class, that is ok! I am not expecting these to be finished instruments! Just ideas and materials to work with in class. I will bring in some materials as well, and we’ll spend some time trying different techniques.

Also, create a couple sketches for your musical instruments / sound systems. The sketches can range from doable to absurd, but should clearly depict the sculpture’s form and describe it’s basic functionality.


2 hour instrument project

Base: Your base can be made of pretty much anything but will have an big impact on the type of sounds your instrument will be able to produce. For example, cardboard conducts sound quite well, but you can’t really put a nail into cardboard, so you have to use lighter materials with a cardboard base.

Sounds: What kind of sounds are you going for. Are you going for more of a sound system capable of a variety of different sounds or a focused instrument that is tuned for sustained string sounds (for example).

Stuff: What kind of stuff works? if you are using a wood base, try nails, strings, and springs. Cardboard can work well with rubber bands, light metal scraps, and other random objects. Metal sometimes sounds good on it’s own (or with water) and styrofoam is surprisingly great at for quiet delicate sounds. Try out lots of stuff!

Look: What does it look like? does the visual design support the sounds it makes? does it contrast the sounds? Both are fun performance paradigms!

Play: How do you want to play your instrument? striking, plucking, bowing, blowing, pouring, scratching, etc.

FNDT 160 | Spring 2019