Strings 1

A mechanically produced composition resulting from the random interaction between a steel pan, three ping pong balls and a desk fan combined with the effects of rust and decay on half the insides of a piano played by a set of small motors.

The piece started out as the insides of a piano hung on a wall with the strings played by pieces of tape attached to small motors. Filmed onto VHS tape.

a piano and cymbal doorbell

Later the piano was cut in half, two cymbals were added, also played by the motors and the piece was installed in a private house. It was connected to a bell push so it became the doorbell for the house. After a few years the doorbell stopped working and, bored with the object, the owner of the house consigned it to a garden shed where it rusted for 15 years. It was rescued from the shed and still worked although intermittently due to the rust and decay.

mechanism inside a steel pan

The steel pan was placed upside down over a foam covered desk fan that bounced three ping pong balls randomly around projecting them onto the inside of the pan to create the percussive sounds.

automatically playing steel pan

This is the sound of the steel pan on its own.

amplified piano insides

After recording the sound the half piano was restored, the switching mechanism was removed, the motors are oiled and two microphones and an amplifier were added. The motors played continuously and a rheostat varied the motor speeds and resultant combination of overtones.

This is how it sounded without amplification.

Strings 2

The interaction between overtones created by sounding piano strings, cymbals and a metal sheet with small motors. The piece builds over a period of two minutes and then continues for 16 minutes before fading out over two minutes. Play very loud and in its entirety for a cleansing meditative experience.

instruments in studio

These are the sound making devices used in the recording - small low voltage motors with strips of tape attached used to vibrate cymbals and piano strings and with a small weight added to vibrate a steel sheet.

piano on tripod

After the piano insides were cut in half the remaining half was further divided into three sections. This is one of their iterations.

sound installation in Lambeth

This was combined with a large stainless steel disk for a sound installation.

sound installation in Sweden

Two sixths of the piano can be seen here on either side of the stage with resonators attached. These were exhibited with the insides of another whole piano, a steel sheet, three cymbals and a bicycle wheel.

A recording of all theses devices was used as the sound for this sound painting for projector and speakers. The video was derived from a fireworks display.

After many years apart the four cut up sections are reunited for the Bath festival in the UK.

Strings 3

Further string pieces in a more classical tradition utilising guitar and violin.

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