Diego StoccoDiego Stocco is a more current inspiration for my adventure into instrument building. His bassoforte (video below) is a particularly effective demonstration of the possibilities available to the composer who creates his own instrument. Through careful design, Stocco is able to produce a myriad of sounds that retain a similar character and give the composition a sense of unity, in part because they all come from the same instrument.
Instrument #1My first attempt at instrument building is rather modest in comparison, but that reflects not so much my means as my aims. Unlike Stocco, I don’t intend to record a song by performing all its parts one after the other. Rather, I’ll record several sessions where I coax out as many varied sounds as possible from my instrument. These recordings will become the sound source for musique concrète manipulations and other processing to produce an electro-acoustic composition.
The design is fairly simple. I made a resonator box from scrap wood and inserted some nails at each end. I wrapped two types of metal wires around those nails to create strings. A movable bridge adjusts the pitch of the strings. I’ve installed a homemade contact microphone to the soundboard to capture the various sounds of this instrument.
SoundsSounds can be made by hitting any wooden surface, the strings or the nails. I can strum or rub the strings with my fingers or with objects. I can also use a piece of wood to “bow” the open end of the box to produce a complex (and aggressive) sound. I can also buzz my lips into a small hole at the other end of the instrument (as a jug player would do) to produce a sound that has a certain brass instrument quality to it.
Here are some examples of these sounds:
Strumming with moving bridge
Hammering strings and movng bridge