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Pitch Bow: Music Box Village
In 2016 I designed and built the Pitch Bow house in collaboration with interactive community based artist-run experimental art initiative New Orleans Airlift and musical tinkerer/engineer Ranjit Bhatnagar as part of a musical architecture project called the Music Box Village. The Pitch Bow was built using 80% reclaimed materials and includes musical floor boards & a door that functions like a slide guitar. Along with seven other pieces of musical architecture, the Pitch Bow is regularly performed & played, at its permanent home in New Orleans, by professional local & international musicians, artists & children alike. Visit New Orleans Airlift website or check out their Instagram for upcoming events and public days.
Pitch - refers to the pitch of the roof but also the varying levels of musical pitch that are made by the one string sliding guitar doors & the two nightingale noise floors.
Bow - refers to the diddly bow; a one stringer instrument from West Africa often considered a children’s toy consisting of a single string tensioned between two ends of a wooden bow laying across a hollowed out calabash fruit which magnifies the resonance of the sting when plucked. In the Deep South of the U.S. the diddly bow is widely excepted to have influenced the development of the blues sound which, in this version, consisted of baling wire tensioned between two nails on a board over a glass bottle, which is used both as a bridge and as a means (like the calabash fruit) to magnify the instrument's sound. Many consider the diddly bow a precursor to the slide guitar & even the Bango.
Nightingale Noise Floors - an additional inspiration for this musical house comes from the centuries-old technique used in Japan commonly found in palaces & temples as an ingenious way of keeping intruders from breaking in and stealing their prized treasures. Nightingale floors, or uguisubari, which literally means “bush warbler bird guard watch” in Japanese are designed to make a "chirping" sound when walked upon. Constructed from dried boards designed in a way that the flooring nails rub against a metal jacket or clamp, creating the sound.
Plucking the one string musical element before sliding the doors back & forth to activate change in pitch from the vibrating. Inspired by the one string instrument the diddly bow which was later developed into the slide guitar.
Demonstrating the piano like keys of the Nightingale noise floor.
The first performance after 8 months of designing & building.
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