The Sound Forest     

Queensland Biennial Festival of Music         2003

These instruments were commissioned by the Artistic Director and creator of The Sound Forest, Linsey Pollak. The Sound Forest was a public event held in the rainforest area of Southbank in Brisbane as part of the Queensland Biennial Festival of Music. It was one of their most successful public events of the festival with in excess of 40,000 people visiting it over the 10 days of the festival.

 

The Hills Harp

Materials - Galvanised steel, cables, plastic        3m x 3m x 2.6m

The Hills Harp consisted of a custom made Hills hoist that could have its wires tensioned and tuned. To play the harp, the public could wind the hoist to their desired height and pluck or hit the wires. To hear it you had to put some of the ear phones that were dangling from it - as you put on the ear phones, you left the ambient sound scape of the area and the very soft and subtle sounds of the Hills Harp, and entered into the very present and rich sound scape of the Hills Harp itself, audible only to those people who were also "connected".

 

The Spoonaphone

Materials - Queensland Hoop Pine plywood, steel, PVC plastic      1m x 1.2m x 40cm

The Spoonaphone is the most inventive of all of the acoustic instruments listed here, as the timbre of the sound it produces and the way in which it does this are entirely new. The "spoons" are essentially wooden tines that are clamped in a bracket that enables them to be tuned to a specific note when struck with a mallet or plucked by hand. Under these spoons are tunable resonating chambers that are in sympathy with their respective spoons. The result is a sound that has been described "like big drops of musical water" falling into a well or chamber. For The Sound Forest the spoons and their resonators were arranged like a piano keyboard, but for the exhibition at St. Kilda's Linden Gallery, The Instrument Building, they were arranging in the experimental format of the "Spiral of Fifths". With this arrangement, the relationship and "shape" of any note to any other note, or any chord to any other chord remains the same regardless of what key you are playing in. By pivoting the instrument you essentially change key, with the seven arms of the spiral closest to you being the notes of that scale, and the notes furthest from you being the notes that aren't (for instance, in C major the "white notes" are the ones closet to you, and the "black notes" are the ones furthest from you).