Musical Instrument Distinguishes between Diethylene Glycol and Glycerol (and more)

In the hands of a scientist, musical instruments can do many sorts of things. This study tells how some instruments can be used to distinguish between different kinds of physical materials. “Musical Instruments as Sensors,” Heran C. Bhakta, Vamsi K. Choday, and William H. Grover, ACS Omega, vol. 3, 2018, pp. 11026−11032. The authors, at […]

Fictophones – a curiously unstable class of musical instruments?

    Does this video, showing sound sculptor Henry Dagg performing ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ on a Faux-Katzenklavier of his own construction, qualify as a fictophonic collapse scenario? First, some background. Musicologists often like to categorise instruments into classes or groups. For example – idiophones (vibrating bodies), membranophones (vibrating membranes), chordophones (vibrating strings), aerophones (vibrating […]

Lowdown update for contra enthusiasts: a mega-saxophone

Jim Cowdery writes: No doubt your followers have been clamoring for updates to the contrabass/contrabassiphone post from several years ago. I am happy to provide this demonstration of the subcontrabass saxophone; the lowest note seems to be A-flat, a major second lower than a contrabassoon and a major third lower than a double bass with a […]

The art of short-circuiting (a metaphorical coconut)

Qubais Reed Ghazala explains how he builds new kinds of instruments by carefully bending, twisting, or otherwise deforming or even breaking things that were designed to be other than what Ghazala eventually had in mind for them. He wrote a study: “The Folk Music of Chance Electronics: Circuit-Bending the Modern Coconut,” Qubais Reed Ghazala, Leonardo […]