ADVENTURES IN FRICTION

What’s in this article: An overview of different ways of creating friction vibrations, a discussion of principles and techniques pertaining to the making of stick-slip instruments, and short descriptions of several friction instruments I’ve made. In recent years I’ve...

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FUNDAMENTAL, HARMONICS, OVERTONES, PARTIALS, MODES

As many readers will already know, most musical sounds contain multiple frequencies. These frequencies come about as the results of different modes of vibration -- that is, different patterns of vibratory movement -- coexisting in the physical body that is the source...

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ALUMINUM DISK GONGS (Article #2)

If you decide to make them, you can choose whether to keep it simple or take a more sophisticated approach. Article 2: A More Sophisticated Approach In an article posted prior to this one, I presented the basics for making simple aluminum disk gongs.  This follow-up...

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ALUMINUM DISK GONGS (Article #1)

Easy to make, wonderful sound.  If you decide to make them, you can choose whether to keep it simple or take a more sophisticated approach.   Article 1: A Simple Approach I have recently made a number of simple flat gongs out of aluminum disks.  If you can get...

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ALTERNATIVES FOR PITCH CONTROL IN WIND INSTRUMENTS

When it comes to homemade instruments, simple wind instruments can be among the most rewarding.  They can be compact yet versatile, loud enough to be heard without requiring pickups or amplification, and in their simpler forms they can be fairly easy to make without...

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SOUNDS AND SILENCE

For many years I lived in a very quiet place.  Then I moved, and for the next several years I lived in another very quiet place. More recently I moved again, this time to my current place, which is not so quiet. Even though this place is not on a main road, there is a...

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ENGRAVINGS OF EARLY ACOUSTICAL APPARATUS

This post presents a collection of old engravings of acoustical apparatus. I first ran into these many years ago when I was editing the Experimental Musical Instruments quarterly journal. A few different readers wrote in at various times to mention the existence of...

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NORTH-SOUTH/EAST-WEST CHIMES

Some time ago I posted on this site an essay under the title “Orientation of the Oscillation.”  In it I talked about the importance of the direction of the oscillation in an instrument’s main vibrating bodies (strings, bars, tines or whatever): how the orientation of...

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MASTERY VS. GO-FOR-A-RIDE

In music schools, people spend a great deal of time in practice rooms pursuing mastery of their chosen instruments. Many people who aren’t in music school do the same thing in their bedrooms or living rooms. As a result there are a lot of astonishingly skilled...

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OVER-UNDER SCALES

For people that spend time in the world of new music, especially in academic circles, one of leading themes of the last several decades has been alternative intonations systems – that is, tuning systems other than the standard western scale known as twelve-tone equal...

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