Disquiet Junto Project 0385: Audubonus Instrumentum

The Bremmenmusikkasten has been outlawed across most of the world (for obvious reasons), but a few examples of this live musical box of birds and a cat can still be found in museums.
Here is a brief recording made for Canada’s Hinterland Who’s Who program in the 1960s before the instrument was banned.


It’s called a ´phone
And really its a pocket computer with an iOS phone app
A cellular antenna, a speaker, and a microphone
Could have a koala sampler app too, then it´s an instrument
Might sound like this…:slight_smile:


The Equalizer is just like an equalizer, except imagine each band is a mixer channel.
In this track I’m using 2 Equalizers, which gives me a total of 32 instruments. There’s also a tape delay on one of them, and an oscillator fed with the same input as one of the Equalizers (they’re both being fed by unquantized random-ish voltages).


Loving the background details, some cracking ideas. I’m away from my studio so might not get a chance to post anything on time, but I will describe my instrument now and hope to upload its sounds for you on Monday.

The “Taciturn Aviary” is a small enclosure, about 6 inches square and 8 inches tall, made of metal bars, that contains feathers, various assorted memories of birdsong, and a delicate and ornate clockwork mechanism. When not in use, the bars are covered by plush velvet drapery, that is attached by a cord to the winder of the clockwork mechanism. To play, one lifts the drapery, thus starting the silently running clockwork. After 4’ 33" the clockwork runs down, and the drapery closes. The listening experience is different every time, being unpredictable but also affected by the location and time of day of the performance. Its tone is considered by many to be “golden”, but some consider it to be deafening.
If you pay close attention you will likely hear some of the memories of birdsong.
You might even be able to hear someone playing their Taciturn Aviary nearby right now if you stop and listen a while…


I really hope you can post your audio!! Your concept instantly put me in mind of William Butler Yeats’ mechanical golden bird:

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


The corvus sonic bowl is a type of musical instrument that uses a wide copper or crystallophone rim to produce musical tones by means of friction and velocity. The first models were produced in Finland, where one is most likely to hear and see the instrument in action.

The actual word has no lexical meaning in Finnish, and in Finno-Ugric language the instrument is often called a korppi meaning “raven.” It is unknown what ornithological significance this holds, but we know that the name comes from the Latin corvus vis Swedish korpen, both derived from the Indo-European root ker, “to cry out.” Mysteries abound.

The corvus (as it’s typically called) can be played two ways: by rubbing the edge of the rim with a moistened rubber ball, or by flicking various parts of the body framework with your finger. The emitted sound may be highly percussive, like hitting a clay pot, or it can resemble the angelic tunes produced by a glass harmonica.

Since the corvus was (and is) an expensive instrument to produce, recorded artifacts are exceedingly rare. Suss Müsik is fortunate to own several albums in which the corvus makes an appearance.

The Scottish progressive rock band Aloysius Colourboxx featured the instrument on their 1972 triple-album opus Trade Language, and US flower-pop outfit The Third Fifth Forth was known to break out a corvus throughout their two-week existence in the autumn of 1967.

Suss Müsik’s personal favorite corvus tunes are “Sifting the Soft” by funk-jazz great Bootsie Sidewinder, and an obscure 1977 B-side from punk band Screaming at the Mirror titled “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree (Unless I Throw It At You).”

Highly skilled corvus players can emit a wide variety of sounds in a single session. Suss Müsik isn’t that skilled at anything, really, so we cheated by multi-tracking the recording for this week’s Junto. Unfortunately the rim cracked during our session before completely shattering to pieces, so that’s it for Suss Müsik’s corvus phase. Sorry.

The piece is titled Corvus. The image is a primitive sketch of the instrument drawn purely from memory.


Huge congratulations!

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Great prompt Marc! Loving the contributions this week.

I bought my son a xylophone but he really wanted that Gary Burton vibraphone sound, so he hooked up a bunch of servomotors to the metal bars, gently twisting each one in time to a bank of oscillators. Of course he got the idea from YouTube! I never should have signed him up for that Arduino class. And of course now the xylophone is out of warranty. Kids!!

Here’s the video (I’m learning Processing so I thought I’d run a sketch in the background to make it a little more interesting):

Here’s audio if you prefer that:


hey all, I present to you a rare live performance on the Doohingophone.

This Instrument is a so-called Doohingophone. Its sound generating part is a tube with a rotating rod inside. The rod can be rotated by had using handles on ropes which are laid around the rod. Attached to the tube is a large resonant body.
The special thing about this instrument is the element of surprise, because the pitch is not entirely determined by the rotating speed but also by many other factors that concern the friction surfaces of the inner tube with the rod, as well as the materials used and the weather.
There are not many artists who are able to make it sound pleasant, which is perhaps the reason it is not commonly known. Sadly even, some critics compare the sound to a squeaking door hinge and it will take decades for its reputation to be resetted to its original glory. In the time when it was invented, around 1896-1897, it was popular as house music with rich mansion owners who had nothing better to do than invite guests and keep their army of servants busy.


Thank you! Much appreciated


That diagram is on point!


While the UC Berkeley campus abounds in charming sights and sounds, perhaps none are more evocative to alumni of decades past than the sounds pealing forth from atop “The Campanile”, or Sather Tower. These are from none other than the Glocken der Nagetiere, or Hamster Carillon, the result of an remarkable cross-departmental project (including Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Biology, Music, and Philosophy) in 1974.

Playing this instrument, the human performer(s) attempt to guide the set of pampered hamsters that are its core into moving, running in a wheel, eating, or burrowing into various parts of the sound-insulated enclosure atop the tower. These actions trigger actuators that ring the bells of the carillon. While the question of who, precisely, is performing or composing the piece still generates papers in the philosophy journals, the rest of us can just enjoy the results at frequent midday concerts.

This piece, performed in 1986 by Rachel Salgado and two Winter White hamsters (Pippin and Dash), was recorded from nearby Strawberry Creek.

Driving the MIDI signals for the bells in Ableton are two independent networks of LFO’s interpreted with custom Reaktor macros implementing randomizable non-continuous functions that I’ve been working on. The creek and birdsong background are an early-morning field recording I made at Tassajara Zen Center.

(My first Junto upload, excited!)


After the “Violent Unknown Event,” as described by Mr. Peter Greenaway in his documentary, “The Falls,” one Essex schoolboy by the name of Gyrus Falliffity found himself completely mute, except for a single odd, complex 20-second-long vocalization which he could only repeat ad infinitum. This vocalization is the first of four recorded here.

The following two are the result of painstaking work undertaken over a three-year span by Falliffity with a London VUE therapist in efforts to regain English speech. As one can easily hear, these two recordings represent rather perfect transpositions of the original vocalization at the upper major second and major third [uncannily strictly following 12EDO].

The final recording may be slightly harder to analyze by ear: researchers at the Paris institute “IRCAM” determined that this is a perfectly even, linear sweep of the original vocalization, from one octave above the original to one octave beneath. Evidently this is the final result of efforts undertaken by Falliffity in Trondheim, Norway following his previous failures: this attempt to learn to articulate a language different than the English mother tongue, it must be said, was also a failure.


Thank you, it helped me stay focused and moving forward. As long as I could get to the Junto I would be ok.


Thank you, I appreciate the feedback you(you) have provided.


fantástico :slight_smile:


The Chord Can is an instrument for playing chords only. It is inspired by the Stradella Bass System https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stradella_bass_system that can be found on Accordions.

The Chord Can has the size of a driking can https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article1259812.ece/ALTERNATES/s1200/Hand%20Holding%20Beverage%20Can and provides buttons on the top for choosing the base note of a chord. On the outside there are buttons for setting the flavour of the chord.

It runs on battery and you need a MIDI sound source that can be connected using a cable or a wireless connection.


Jorge Luis Borges writes in his compendium Book of Imaginary Beings about the musicians of Simurgh and their avian backing tracks.

The Bodgy Budgie breed of birds so substantially cornered and dominated the market in caged rhythms that the term ‘pigeonholed’ came into their music vernacular.

The backlash led many jams in Simurgh to be agitated by artificial means, as an aid to improvisation.

Some musicians explored their felines and Bassling popularised ‘dropping a cat among the pigeons’ – or, as it became simply known, The Drop.


the sub-alto flute (also known as the sub bass flute (but not to be confused with the smaller sub-contrabass)) covers the range C0 - C3.

this 30 ft instrument is rarely seen in flute ensembles due to the great skill (and great lung capacity) required to play it. 2 assistants are needed to stabilize the instrument.

Nicknamed the contracolonic due to it’s intestinal structure and rumbling at low frequencies, the recording here hopefully goes some way to highlight this facet.
flute sample in iris 2, paulstretched.

image: https://ganbreeder.app/i?k=730d63a4eb1195a8f1864247


This pencil work is incredibly cool.