Making music from art with the Vessel Orchestra

Vessel orchestra at the Met BreuerWe are a musically inventive species, fascinated by sound. For millennia, we have explored every conceivable item as an instrument to create music. Rocks. Fire. Water. Wind. Roads. Plants. Vegetables. Stalactites. Bowls. Radio waves. Now we have the Vessel Orchestra. Artist Oliver Beer has created his own jug band at the Met Breuer comprising objects from the museum’s collection. He assembled thirty-two sculptures, utilitarian containers, and decorative objects ranging from ancient Persia to modern America.

From a large concert hall to a small tube, every hollow space has its own characteristic resonance. You hear the result when you blow into a flute or add reverb to a song. Beer chose each object based on its naturally resonating frequency to form a musical scale. Microphones and speakers amplify and shape the ambient tones resonating within each vessel. During Museum hours, a pre-programmed audio interface plays a composition written by Beer, animating the vessels in real time. Other composers have also used the orchestra to create new compositions and improvisations.

Hear the Vessel Orchestra in Action

Check out this link to learn more about the Vessel Orchestra.

For a list of odd instruments with links for more information, see my post on Odd Instruments.

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