A stroll through town 1 by the music box

The Singing House,Quintron

The Singing House is a harmonic drone synthesizer that is completely modulated by the weather. Wind speed, sun position, moonlight, rainfall, and lightening all provide constant daily changes to an ever-present E major chord. A special amplification system was designed for this invention so that many different speakers can be run at the same time for a true “surround sound” experience.

White noise, drone, and “wave machines” have been used for many years for relaxation, concentration, and healing. The Singing House goes one step further by providing pleasant background tones that are actually being “played” by they skies above. No two days sound the same.

Singing house 1 by the music box

Water-Organ, Jayme Kalal

The Water Organ is a device that allows sound to be played through water (in this case, the sound of a keyboard).  This effect is produced by mingling sound and air in a sealed box and pushing the air (with the sound in it) down through pipes, past valves, through water, and then out into the air, where the sound is then amplified.  The pipes and water act as the throat of the instrument, shaping the sound as it passes through the water, achieving a “watery sound” that has a very distinct emotional quality to it.  The goal was to physically produce a sound filter that acoustically shapes the sound, in the same way someone manipulating a synthesizer would shape a sound electronically.  The instrument is housed in a building that is likewise water-themed, adorned with shells (including an oyster shell roof!) gathered from the construction site and near the railroad tracks on Press Street.

Jayme water organ 1 by the music box

Voxmurum, Taylor Lee Shepherd

The Voxmurum is comprised of a microphone that feeds a series of audio loop devices that can be recorded on to and played by mahogany paddles. Complicated metal linkages that power the paddles and a complex organization of wires are masked behind a decorative, finished wall-panel. This wall of sound is intended to evoke the sound of neighbors talking or playing music on the other side of a thin wall. The sound of this instrument is never the same. It is dependent on who or what is recorded into it. A very versatile producer of sound.

Voxmurum25t by the music box

photo Tod Seelie

Rocking Chair, Simon Berz

Simon Berz often works with objects installed around an ironing board, calling it the “rocking desk”. Through vibration, induction, light and feedback, he creates a darkly playful sound universe out of daily objects. For the Music Box, he uses an old rocking chair, turning it into a swinging, rocking bass monster. Even the smallest movement is audible, the creaking of the wood evoking images of old haunted houses while the strings attached can be played through an old radio. Whoever gets into the chair can dive into a world of sound, balance and vibration.

Rocking chair 1 by the music box

The Gamelatron: Pendopo at the End of the Universe, Aaron Taylor Kuffner

The Gamelatron Pendopo at the End of the Universe features 4 10-key antique Bronze vibraphones from Bali played by 80 robotic mallets and mutes, controlled by an arcade button mandala set in a gazebo-style after offering structure in Balinese temples.  These particular instruments, known as Gender (Gehn-dair) in Bali, are tuned to a 5-note scale called Selendro which is native to Indonesia and usually accompany shadow puppet performances.  In Balinese cosmology the different tones of the gamelan instruments correspond to the directions of the universe, properties of god, places in the body and colors. The floor of the Pendopo is crafted with 9 different color woods salvaged from destroyed houses in New Orleans, symbolizing the 9 directions of the Balinese sound mandala (north, northwest, west, southwest, south, southeast, east, northeast and center).

Gamelantron1 by the music box

Thumper and the Doppler-Gang, Rainger Pinney and Jonah Emerson-Bell

Thumper and the Doppler-Gang is an interactive sound sculpture composed of a digital stethoscope and a set of spinning speakers. The speakers create a Doppler effect which alters the rhythm of the audio played through them. By amplifying and abstracting the sounds of participants circulatory systems it draws attention to our bodies and the automatic functions that keep us alive, which are often times taken for granted.

Thumper and doppler gang 2 by the music box

photo Tod Seelie

(lookout tower drone organ), Benjamin Nathan Mortimer

Made on-site for the village from entirely raw materials. Played by one or many musicians with no computers or electronics involved. The sound is produced with purely mechanical actuators playing organ pipes loaned by St. Matthews of New Orleans after their organ was destroyed during the Katrina storm.  The structure was made to resemble a utility tower, lookout perch, or a deep-sea buoy washed up on the beach. The design on the steps drawn by Orien McNeil are a Victorian style explanation of the device in their own way.  Among the visual clues, they show the player the pipes that will sound on each step and whether they will play an organ pipe or a train whistle sound. The notes included on the tower are a unique sound design dreamt up by master musician and luthier Burton LeGeyt.  They are 2 beautiful chords resolving harmoniously with each other. Let’s name them F sharp minor 7th and G sharp LeGeyt. Concrete base design and braided fabric organ pipe cradles by master of details Alleyn Isadora Sidley Llewellyn Evans.

lookout tower drone organ 2 by the music box

Rattlewoofer, Delaney Martin

A car sub- woofer speaker is installed into the back of a glass and tin shack. When a button on the floor of the shack is pressed the sound of deep bass rattles the shack. In New Orleans the sound of Bounce music, with its loud and deep bass, can cause a passing car with a sub-woofer to literally shake your house. This instrument is a tribute to that experience. In the village it shares a home with the beautiful and delicate Tinntabulation Station (discussed above)

Rattlewoofer – tintinabulation station 1 by the music box

photo Tod Seelie

Rotational Ruckus Machine, Andrew Schrock

Industrial fans are converted into percussive sound machines.  Rat trap foot pedals allow the performer to play a fan with a variety of household items from a spatula to rope to door hinges. The different objects modulate the sound, as does a speed control knob. A second series of fans are welded into a frame for traditional drumstick playing. Each blade of the fan has been treated with sound modulating surfaces like wood or wool to change the audible effect.

Ruckus machine 1 by the music box

Noise Floor, Ranjit Bhatnagar

Inspired by the nightingale floors of the Shogun’s palace in Kyoto, the Noise Floor resounds with amplified creaks and groans when stepped on.

Noise floor1 by the music box

Bathtub Bass, Ross Harmon

The mother of all washtub basses, a bass banjo with bathtub resonator, built from a discarded bathtub, drum, wood scraps and weed whacker line.  Played like a normal upright, excepting a slightly longer scale length, it stands 8’ tall.

Bathtub bass 1 by the music box

photo Morgan Sasser

Built-In Autoharp, Ross Harmon

Chromatic Autoharp and Hurdy-Gurdy Dulcimer built into kitchen cabinet.  The Autoharp is a traditional instrument, playable in 21 chords.  This particular autoharp was built on a larger scale with lighter gauge strings and a massive resonating chamber to increase volume and quality of sound.  Also, an invention of Harmon’s, the Hurdy-Gurdy Dulcimer was added to the same resonating chamber.  The Hurdy-Gurdy dulcimer is a circularly bowed instrument with a crank and wheel that act as a constantly rotating violin bow.To play the Autoharp: with the left hand, depress and hold down a Chord Bar (on the left, metal buttons), this mutes all the strings except for those in the chord represented, and the right hand is used to strum or pick a melody.

Built-in autoharp 1 ross by the music box

Mountain dulcimer hurdy-gurdy1 by the music box

The Echo-wall, Patty O’Connor

The Echo-Chamber is an acoustic reverberation wall made of steel sheeting and springs that reflect, vibrate, and color acoustic inputs to sound as if they are being played within a long hallway. Instruments attached to the Echo-Chamber include a horn made of copper plumbing pipe, a mallet-struck vibrating idiophone, and a few percussive hammers that strike springs inside.

Echo wall1 by the music box