Topic Thread

  • 1.  Water Wheel Powered Bowed Piano

    Posted 05-18-2022 19:51
    Greetings,

    One of our graduating MFA students, Daniel Newman-Lessler, created an installation for his Kinetic Sculpture class. Daniel describes it like this:

    Do you still want to go anywhere?  Do you still think turning a wheel will help?
    A redwood waterwheel sits atop cement blocks in a kiddie pool and is powered by water flowing through a series of PVC pipes, which is fed by a pond pump.  A unicycle wheel is fixed to one of the waterwheel's axles and drives a loop of rosined fishing line, which is wrapped around a wound bass string in an upright piano whose lower panel has been removed and dampers jammed open. Jingle bells are fixed to some of the spokes of the waterwheel to provide an additional sound source in addition to the sounds of trickling water and bowed piano drones. 

    Here's a link to some of the documentation of the wheel:


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    Alan Eder
    Valencia CA
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  • 2.  RE: Water Wheel Powered Bowed Piano

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 11:19
    Thanks for sharing this, Alan. I love this kind of stuff. Unfortunately I am unable to get any of the links to actually play. Appears they all require some third party app.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 3.  RE: Water Wheel Powered Bowed Piano

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 14:36

    An intersting sculpture. I have artists in my family (they even teach art at colleges) so am familiar with their "thinking outside the box" stuff. Also with the lack of engineering backgrounds! Interesting concept, but it has some design flaws, unless the artist wanted the water wheel to stall frequently. And then there is the knot in the string. . . .

    :)






  • 4.  RE: Water Wheel Powered Bowed Piano

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 19:37
    David,

    Originally, the artist"s intention was to have a sustained drone. Once we noticed that the friction of the knot making its way around the string slowed things down a bit, we liked the variation that that brought it to the sound. So, we decided to set the pump and the friction on the fishing line so that water wheel would deliberately stall, but be able to start itself back up again. That became the main event, sonically speaking.

    Alan

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    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
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  • 5.  RE: Water Wheel Powered Bowed Piano

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 20:02

    Ah! so those parts were intentional! OK.






  • 6.  RE: Water Wheel Powered Bowed Piano

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-19-2022 20:24
    Intentional, in a "lemons to lemonade" sense, yes.

    Alan

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    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
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