The social lamellaphone is a unique acoustic instrument for experimental music making and exploration of cooperative creativity. Derived from the musical technology of the familiar African ‘thumb piano’ (ie kalimba, mbira, sanza, likembe, etc), but created in ignorance of the science of music, this instrument is entirely experimental and intuitively tuned.
The steel keys or tines of the instrument are made from cast-off street-sweeper bristles I’ve collected from the streets of inner-city Sydney for the past few years. Each of the 270 tines has been cut and filed to length, then fixed in a the hardwood bridge at different lengths to produce different microtonal notes. A pattern of notes, with slight variation between each sound box, repeats five times around the instrument circumference.
Visitors are invited to explore the qualities of the instrument by making sounds. Up to ten people can play the interment at once.