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Bēhance

Custom Built Orchestra

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  • I always been fascinated by the raw musical power that an orchestra can express, so, after creating a series of videos where I'm performing a multi-track piece with an instrument I designed, I decided to take the concept a step farther and create my own orchestra made of unusually unique instruments.

    The project started by handcrafting a diverse selection of instruments, then I wrote a composition where I could fit them all in and finally performed each part. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it!

    After the video you can see pictures and read a description for each instrument and its playing techniques.
  • *** A note about the instruments: Besides objects and materials that I purchase at the hardware store, I'm using parts that come from instruments with structural damages, making them unusable in a traditional sense.
    Every year, hundreds of musical instruments get thrown away or sold for parts only, including pianos and classical strings.
  • EXPERIVIOLIN
    Few years ago I started customizing classical strings, the first one was the Experibass.
    The name came to my mind when I joined the words Experiment and Bass, because that was exactly the concept behind the instrument, joining several parts from the strings family into one unique body.

    The Experiviolin has the body of a violin, the neck of an electric guitar and acoustic guitar strings.
    It only has 2 strings because the neck of the guitar is flat and having 4 strings like a regular violin would make playing it unpractical. It still retains some of the tonal colors of a violin but the tone is different, also due to the custom tuning.

  • EXPERICELLO
    The starting point of the Expericello was a damaged cello.I removed the majority of the top body to insert a zither, because the additional strings create sympathetic resonances (like in a sitar).
    Also the neck is completely custom built, and it uses 2 double bass strings and two piano strings. I played it by pinching the strings since there's no fingerboard.
  • EXPERIBASS
    The Experibass combines a violin, viola and cello neck on the body of a double bass. It has a unique and recognizable sound also due to the way I play it.

    Here you can find the first video I did right after I built it and here few more cues I created with it.
    With this instrument I performed as Featured Soloist on the film "Sherlock Holmes" and the video game franchise "Assassin's Creed".
  • ARCOPHONICO
    I built this by using a tree branch I found on the street. It's an electro-acoustic instrument amplified with a pick up and a built-in piezo microphone. It has three sections, the bass with a fretted metallic neck, a 2 strings cello-like section and a vertical double bass string that can be played by pinching it. It can be played with a bow, a chop stick, small metallic bars or picks.
  • LUMINOPIANO
    This is an instrument based on light bulbs, more precisely, the sound is created by the internal tungsten filament.I pierced the light bulbs with a flame torch and placed an electret microphone inside each one.
    The shape and size of the filament, plus the position of the microphone is what determines the sound. The sound is then processed in real time through Ableton Live so the pitch can be controlled with more flexibility.
    In this video you can see when I presented it for the first time.
  • TEXTURAL FLUTE
    This instruments produces mostly overtones due to the restricted air passages.
    It combines a penny whistle, plastic pipes and the bell of a trombone.
  • GLOCKENSTRANGE
    The basis for this instrument is an old auto-piano. I personalized it with a custom tuning so single keys can also make chords. On the top part I added metal washers which I handpicked based on their root note. The tuning in this part is quite interesting, I was looking for a bell-like timbre so I detuned the strings at specific intervals and at different octaves.
  • SUB-BASS COLUMN
    This instrument is based on two thick elastic cords, it can be played tonally by pressing the cords in the right position. It makes a very low and thumping sound, it's useful as a tonal percussive instrument.
  • TONAL METALS
    In this percussive instrument I combined several objects that I picked based on their note.
    There's a metallic spatula, a long metallic bar, two cutlery containers/dryers, a fruit plate and clock bells.
  • DOUBLE FRAME DRUM
    For this instrument I combined two frame drums. It produces a much lower and boomier sound than a regular frame drum. It's also waterproof inside in case I want to fill it up with water.
  • HARPIANO/SOUNDBOARD PERCUSSIONS
    I repurposed this old piano board into a percussive instrument and played it like a harp by using the strings on the top part.
  • For those of you into technical details, this is the gear I used to record.
    API 512c preamps, 550b EQs, 527 Compressors, and Apogee Ensemble as the converter.
    Microphones, Røde NT5, NT2-A and K2, plus an AKG D40.

  • Pictures by Gianfilippo De Rossi
    © 2012 Diego Stocco - All Rights Reserved