Strafford, New Hampshire


Competition entry in collaboration with David Shanks

A gigantic musical instrument, played by running up and down its ramps bashing and strumming the pipes and strings!

It is designed with a forest context in mind, to be enjoyable to build and to have broad scope for structured and unstructured play.

The proposal has inherent flexibility and could be tailored to suit a particular site, and scaled to vary the build time.

Our proposal is an instrument designed specifically for the Beam Summer Camp, emerging from our shared passions for musicality and buildability.

Three ramps spiral together, through the forest. Each carries a different type of musical component, ascending in tone as many musicians run up the ramp. Metal pipes, plastic pipes and taut strings range from waist-height to gigantic, and are played with sticks, hammers and bows.

Visual, spatial and musical complexity arise as the many simple components are lashed together.

While the instrument is tuned to scientific principles of frequency, wavelengths and octaves, and has some instructional value, campers are ultimately in charge of how it’s played. Whether composing and recording compositions together, or participating in some improvisational bedlam, the choice is in the hands of the makers.

Thonk! Stamp! Ring! Doing! Whoop!

The ramps can be tailored to their context, elongated or shortened depending on desired build time. As an additional level of complexity, actuators could allow parts of the instrument to be programmed and played through a digital interface.