Posts Tagged ‘art’

musical acoustics: a pneumatic 24 string tree guitar

Clippard Instrument Lab has built a 24-string pneumatic guitar “tree” combining sculpture and music with a bit of engineering thrown in.  16 different tubes, seven to eight percussive instruments, and 24 strings.  note: this is brought to you by, whose motto is ‘by engineers for engineers’.  click on the image below to see the performance…

24 string pneumatic tree guitar

Clouds, heard and felt

Most people are familiar with the typical fabric-wrapped wall panels and acoustical ceiling tiles that absorb sound and echo in office environments—and may also be familiar with the reverberant, unintelligible character of a room without these absorptive treatments.  However, the same absorption can always be provided in less traditional forms, delivering world-class design that just happens to have acoustic benefit as well.

In search of this sort of innovation on a recent visit to Copenhagen, we stopped by the Dansk Design Center, a museum and gallery showcasing the best in Danish industrial, product, and graphic design.  On display among the winners of the 2010/11 Danish Design Prize was a product called Clouds, produced by Kvadrat A/S and designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.  The product is a modular system of 2-D felt panels that are joined with rubber bands at the edges to form complex, striking 3-D surfaces and volumes.  The resulting felt sculptures can be fixed to walls, hung from ceilings, or form room dividers on their own.

Felt "Clouds", by Kvadrat A/S and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

Acoustically, felt is an effective absorber of high-frequency sound, and by trapping substantial air spaces within or behind the overall surface, low- and mid-frequency absorption is possible as well.  Products like this allow the acoustic treatment to form an attractive centerpiece to a space’s visual aesthetic, rather than blending into the background!

Who is Emily Howell?

This article may have sparked my interest because we share a name but nonetheless it is interesting.  Whether you love her or hate her, Emily Howell is composing music in a whole new way.  Miller-McCune recently highlighted her work along with David Cope in their article Triumph of the Cyborg Composer.  Have a listen…

Emily Howell – Track 1

Emily Howell – Track 2

Emily Howell has a musical conversation that includes “words” (white nodes) and the connections between them.

Emily Howell Composition

Miller McCune

Sample the sounds of the city

British artist Stanza has published a growing database of urban soundscape samples (his Soundcities project) into a Google Map, allowing the user to sample the sounds of  world cities—including New York City.  The online, open-source database also allows users to contribute their own samples, and to freely use and mix samples from the database for their own projects.

In his introduction, the artist states that “Cities all have specific identities, and found sound can give us clues to the people that inhabit these spaces, as well as provoking us and stimulating our senses in a musical way.”

Projects like this (see also a similar project by the BBC) allow us to explore what a Chicago street has in common with an avenue in Tokyo, or to compare the quiet (or lack thereof) in New York’s Central Park to that at Skansen Kronan in Gothenburg.

What is still lacking is decibel noise level data for each sample, allowing a direct comparison of loudness.  This sort of calibration would be the only way to prove that one city is louder than the next—although, in the meantime, our money is on New York.

[PSFK via Curbed]