Digital Instrument Making

During 2016 as part of their HYAH supported activity, Room 13 employed Glasgow based artist Audrey O'Brian to work with the local community and schools. One element of her residency focused on digital music making and the result of playing and experimenting with every day sounds...

Our S4 music class took part in a collaboration with Audrey to make a Digital Touchpad Instrument using sounds that we had made and recorded. At first, I thought the whole idea was too futuristic for my liking, and that I would prefer to just play my instrument. However, after just the first week, my feelings had completely changed. We split into four different groups – art, photography, recording, technical and lyrics. I was part of the recording group, and found it really fun and interesting to try and see how many different sounds you could get from everyday objects like a window closing, and a loose screw on a piano stool. The art group was in charge of making wire sculptures to form the actual touch pads for the instrument, the photography group were visiting the different groups taking photos of us, the technical group was in charge of editing the sound files and assembling the instrument, and the lyric group picked and recorded themselves saying various poem and song lines.

It all finally came together where the recordings and song snippets we had made were the sounds that the touchpad piano made, and the keys were made up of the art groups sculptures. I felt really proud at the end, as you could really see the hard work pay off. We recorded a song on the instrument during the final session, in which I played the piano and Maddie Lennon, an S5 pupil, played on her saxophone using improvisation in which we were the accompaniment. It was an extremely interesting and enjoyable project in which my views were very much changed.


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