Join 3,432 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Heartless Machines
May 4, 2012 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Christopher Locke makes Analog Tele-Phonographers out of salvaged brass intruments and machine parts. It all began with the The Zurich (video)...

The Ides of March (video)

Full Tilt (video)

LowFlow (video)

Tiny Dancer (video)

Parish Property (video)

Big Trouble (video)

Frump (video)

The Crossroads (video)

Harvey Wallhanger (video)

HissyFit (video)

Madder Horn (video)

Silver Stallion (video)

Triple Trouble (video)

Sonny Trombono (video)

Cullen's Trombone (video)

Silver French Horn (video)
posted by griphus (13 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pretty cool.

Stupid physics-of-sound question: Does the type of instrument/size of the horn affect the pitch or key of the song being broadcast? Would Al Green through a picollo trumpet be higher pitched than Al Green through a tuba?
posted by Think_Long at 7:53 AM on May 4, 2012


Pretty nice. When I'm working outside I set up a little hand held radio in a big metal bucket. I was just thinking yesterday how to do more with that, but then decided it was too much trouble. Hats off to this guy for getting it done.
posted by bongo_x at 7:56 AM on May 4, 2012


Would Al Green through a picollo trumpet be higher pitched than Al Green through a tuba?

They're will be more or less low end, different frequency responses in general, but not different pitches. If you play music in different rooms of your house, or your car, it might sound different, but not different pitch wise.
posted by bongo_x at 8:00 AM on May 4, 2012


Which is because all sounds (natural sounds, anyway, not computer-generated pure tones) are made from many different harmonic frequencies stacked on top of each other. That's what people call timbre, and makes a middle C played on a piano sound different to a middle C sung by a human voice.

So in your example, Think Long, that middle C would be the fundamental pitch that Al Green is singing, and wouldn't be altered by the way the sound was reproduced, but depending on which harmonics are attenuated or amplified would give you a boomier or tinnier tone.
posted by phl at 8:36 AM on May 4, 2012


I've seen some of these in person, since Chris presented at a Dorkbot Austin meeting several months back. I can confirm that the metal horns add something to the sound. He played jazz through a French horn, and the trumpet in the recording sounded like magic. It doesn't do much for distorted guitars though.

I'd guess that horns going through horns are going to sound a bit more powerful, since it's just going to boost the frequencies that would normally come out of it, even though it's a different type of horn.

Anyways, these are really awesome.
posted by hanoixan at 8:41 AM on May 4, 2012


Pedantically, pitch is not a physical phenomenon, it is perceptual. Pitch is is a gestalt response to a combination of frequencies, for every "pitch" a human hears, we hear a larger number of frequencies that make it up (kind of like pixels/shapes on a monitor). With a complex enough sound, the perceived pitch can in some cases change, especially with more percussive sounds, but even with something like an electric guitar, the pitch of a large chord can be different based on changes in the tone control.

phl: "all sounds (natural sounds, anyway, not computer-generated pure tones) are made from many different harmonic frequencies stacked on top of each other"

Actually, quite the contrary, most natural sounds are not produced by simulated one dimensional vibrators (like a tube or string), so most natural sounds emphatically do not oscillate with a harmonic series. Most musical instruments do though.
posted by idiopath at 8:42 AM on May 4, 2012


And here I am playing my trumpet like a fucking idiot.
posted by Fizz at 8:58 AM on May 4, 2012


And more generally, it is a shame to make a bad work-alike for a $15 piece of plastic with a battery out of an old musical instrument. Why not roll your spliffs in 19th century watercolors and eat your food with exotic rainforest wood fountain pens as chopsticks, and drink shots out of clockwork antique music boxes while you are at it.
posted by idiopath at 9:07 AM on May 4, 2012


"I only use instruments that have been damaged beyond repair. There's no sense in destroying a usable instrument...."
posted by griphus at 9:09 AM on May 4, 2012


Although that does bring me to one of my favorite MeFi comments ever.
posted by griphus at 9:11 AM on May 4, 2012


As someone who has played brass but never acquired an undented instrument, I call bullshit on "beyond repair" (the cornet I play now has actual cracks that leak air when they aren't covered in duct tape, but it isn't beyond repair).
posted by idiopath at 9:27 AM on May 4, 2012


These seem like a neat, modern take on Stroh instruments.

It always pains me to see an instrument taken apart, but I think that these at least follow the spirit in which the instruments were originally created.
posted by lekvar at 12:49 PM on May 4, 2012


It always pains me to see an instrument taken apart, but I think that these at least follow the spirit in which the instruments were originally created.

Yeah, they’re not wall hangings at Crazy McGoogles Eatery.
posted by bongo_x at 12:56 PM on May 4, 2012


« Older 37 Data-ish blogs you should know about...  |  WET: The Magazine of Gourmet B... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments