downloaded from alta vista web search system copyright - 6 Dec 95[altavista date] SOUND SYMPOSIUM ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA 397w

Ed Osborne (California, USA)

Ever hear a ski?


"This instrument [is] built out of not so sturdy materials and things that sort of tend to fall apart. Basically you can't count on getting a particular note all the time. The flexibility of the ski makes it such that it's a gigantic rebar... What that does is it gets rid of the possibility of you having to try to get a particular note every time. So for most musical situations this is very bad. For me this is very good. Because it frees me from having to worry about getting an E Flat, having to, you know, or do whatever. So it's sort of liberating. Also it's because the materials are so cheap. It means that I can be fairly rough on the instrument and not really have to worry about it. I usually get the skis for free. People give them to me, and the only really expensive component is the pickup gear, which, if I bought it new would cost seven dollars, but usually I can rip it out of other instruments... so it's sort of a cheap and dirty instrument. But it's a very liberating one too.

"I mean I have an idea when I do something that it's probably going to sound something like this but you can't bet on it all the time. I also have really terrible practice habits. ...Trying to get something very precise out of a ski, I mean you could do it but you'd have to practice a lot more than I do.

"...In addition of being liberated from the possibility of getting all those notes all the time. There's no real history of the ski. There are a number of monochord instruments going back as far as Pythagoras' time at least. But at the same time the history of the ski as an instrument is very short. So it means I'm liberated from the history of other people playing it. So it means that I can be the best ski player in the world. But at the same time I could probably be the worst ski player in the world. And I won't know and nobody else knows. ...I find that pretty great."