Poster for the gig


Making sound for theater show

Theatre Guild
Experiments in science and time
The final production for the 2007
season of the University of Adelaide
Theatre Guild promises to be its
most fascinating play of the year.
An Experiment with an Air Pump
by British playwright Shelagh
Stephenson is a highly intelligent,
engaging and witty exploration of
science, ethics, family and the role
of women over the ages.
Set in the same house over two
time periods – 1799 and 1999 – An
Experiment with an Air Pump plays
with the audience’s expectations
as easily as it mixes the shifts
between time.
Stephenson’s award-winning
work was inspired by the 1768
painting by Joseph Wright of Derby,
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air
Pump, which depicted a scientific
subject as though it were a scene of
historical or religious significance.
In its fi rst known production in
Australia, An Experiment with an Air
Pump is directed by Geoff Brittain,
designed by Ole Wiebkin, and stars
Ben Brooker, Cheryl Douglas, Amy
Hutchinson, Chris Leech, Aldo
Longobardi, Sharon Malujlo and
Alison Sharber, who play dual roles
across the two time periods.
“There’s a link between 1999 and
1799, not just in the science or in
the depiction of women’s roles,
but also in the plot. The different
time periods come together very
well and are equally fascinating to
watch,” said assistant director
Bill Ramsay.
An important part of the blending
of these two time periods is the
use of music and sound effects,
being created by Music Technology
student Maria Fava. Ms Fava, from
Italy, recently moved to Adelaide, and she is
currently based in the University of
Adelaide’s Electronic Music Unit.
She said Beethoven’s famous
Sonata played a central role in the
music for the production.
“It is played in a classical way for
one time period, and for the other
time period it is remixed with other
elements, including a female voice,”
Ms Fava said. “This gives a match
between the two eras, and also is
a match of technology, science and
humanity. So in the music itself
there is a mirror of the concept of
the show.”
An Experiment with an Air Pump will
play at the Little Theatre (University of
Adelaide Cloisters, off Victoria Drive) at
7.30pm on 13 October, 16-20 October
and 23-27 October.
Tickets are $25/$20 concession and
$15 for current University of Adelaide
students and staff for Tuesdays only,
available from the Theatre Guild
on (08) 8303 5999, online at
or from BASS on 131 246.


Building Instruments

This week we had the chance to meet and listen at the work of Joanne Cannon and Stuart Favilla.
Their research focuses on live-performance, design and construction of new experimental musical instruments as:

The Light Harp

Originally designed to play Indian music through computers and synthesisers sounds, the Light Harp is the second space controlled instrument I ever saw (after Theremin).
32 virtual strings are generated by spotlights and lasers projected on light sensors (resistors) all along its smooth figure.
This instrument provide an incredible amount of possibilities: the strings are transposable over eight octaves and flexibly tunable;
the ancillary controls panel consists of 24 simultaneous channels of scanning analogue to

digital control capable of hundreds of MIDI controller assignments including breath- control, a pitch and modulation joystick, pressure sensitive and position-sensitive
touch strips, foot-control pedals, two large dial controllers that operate concentric to each other and an active electromagnetic proximity controller wand. Moreover the connection with control a mixer based MIDIBox allows for sixteen dials to control up to 760 parameters during performance!

The Serpentine Bassoon and the Contra Monster

These are double-reed instruments inspired on bassoon. Interestingly, the fact that leather is less resonant in comparison to other acoustic materials, facilitates amplification and avoids screeching feedback tones.
Other than their own proper sound, they both presents microphones [pickups], touch sensitive thumb-plates, pressure and movement sensors, which the musician can use to control synthesisers, samplers and effects machines.

Joanne uses the instrument to produce an incredible wide range of sounds; including wild animal cries, soft-detailed plucking sounds, bassoon, horn and oboe timbres, cycling rampaging flangers, distortion tones, melodic shifting delays and echoes and all manner of bizarre oscillations, sirens, mutterings and warbling.

I am fascinated. They sound and look great!
Performance is enriched with gesture and interplay. Analogue and synthetic grave together expanding in a new space...
I really would like to build my own instrument as well! Maybe for the performance in November... I definitely like the idea of space control. I imagine a number of photo resistors implanted on scene's walls. Performer is behind the public and appear on stage only in his shadow, triggering the sounds controls through its movements on the light-sensors.
The public could interact as well as the projected light come from behind.
And the sounds I imagine originate from the resonance of the room with water drops played live on a stable sonoric platform...mmm...let's see how.

Related links:
The Bent Leather Bend
Trossen Robotics
The photosonic Disk of Jaques Dudon
Some sounds from the Basquets Instruments in fiberglass