Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Shape of Things Musical

The number of factors effecting the tone of a musical instrument is considerable. Of course, the knowledge of instrument making has grown over hundreds of years. However, what if we think in more fundamental terms. What objects can we find in our homes that can be used as instruments and more importantly what makes them musical?

I would argue that shape and material have the greatest impact of how "musical" an object might be.

For the moment however I ask you only to consider the following shapes:


It is interesting that these shapes are used in physical modeling synths such as Ableton Live's Corpus and Applied Acoustic Systems "Chromaphone". There also seem to be mathematical models for these shapes.

In my exploration of the acoustic properties of objects so far, I have found that objects that have these shapes have a strong series of harmonics which I would suggest makes them musical.

Just an aside. Most things made of glass seem to be musical. It's not a shape and I have no idea why. It's just an observation.

This is just a quick comment on what I hope to be a series of them as part of my "found instruments" project. I very much welcome comments and ideas fir the project. Let me know what you think.

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