downloaded from alta vista web search system copyright - 6 Dec 95[altavista date] SOUND SYMPOSIUM ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA 481w


Tom Nunn (San Francisco, USA)

Tom builds Electroacoustic Percussion Boards using such devices as steel rods, music wire, combs, nails, textured surfaces and springs.


Tom Nunn [Download] "I make instruments... that use electronics with contact mics and processing. I'm here playing with Tim Perkis, a computer person.

"The nice thing about making your own instrument is that it is unique to your music and your music then becomes unique to the instrument.

"The Bug, for example, this whole field here can vary. The ... finishing nails that are on here are in random order. Those will always be different, so shapes of these rods can be different between extremes are tunable, but essentially the board in this shape is what defines this instrument as the Bug. Likewise these things here define the T Rod Imba as being the T Rod Imba. The name comes from T Rod which is threaded rod [my name for it] and the sound's like a marimba, so I call it a T Rod Imba, and this looks like a bug so I call it a Bug. I have another instrument called the Crustacean, 'cause it looks kinda like a horseshoe crab. It's a different type of instrument. The materials that are used, many of them are things that would come from the hardware store.

"Well, I started using sound objects with free improvisation, and then I started collecting the sound objects and you would arrange them in a certain order and then I started making instruments, the whole idea being I didn't want to spend a lot of money myself, so I wanted to keep the instruments as accessible to people, so that material costs, the Bug, for example is around eighty dollars or so in the U.S. and so it's accessible if somebody wants to make one and it's not too expensive to buy materials for them.

"I play them with these knitting needles - aluminum knitting needles with plastic tubing on one end here and that too is very inexpensive... a little duct tape for counter balance here... This, which is also on the board is called the Zing Tree. They're really neat. They're just three foot lengths of bronze bracing rod one-eighth inch diameter and take an oxyacetylene torch and clamp one end in a vise and then heat it a little at both ends, so I have a stalk and then just start curling around like a piece of macaroni or noodle or something and it makes a gong. And it can be bowed to stop.

"The Bug has little ... thumb piano-like things mounted to the thing, so between all of these devices, I can get a pretty broad range of sound."