Friday, February 29, 2008

Now it's the "I went to Texas Blog." Or just, further glass music blog, how's that. It's been interesting timing with "automatic" glass music, right around the time I did a tuning project for this:

(they seem to have cut their hours a bit... opens between 9:00 and 11:00 EST...... but you yes you can program the robotic glasses on the site. You also program, with the keyboard applet, balls shot out of little cannons onto marimba bars plus a cool percussion kit)

I got an email from Orange Texas, from a guy who had built an automated glass instrument (human still required). And it happens I was scheduled to play in Beaumont this February, just a few exits west -- So, I had a neat short weekend visit with John Payne, seeing what he made.

Each cup is mounted to a rotating base:

He's got a little over two octaves, I think, and on the other side of the board, the threaded shaft you see above connects to a pully, and there's one for each glass, and all the pulleys are turned by weed wacker wire powered by a windshield wiper motor.

John and his instrument below, followed by a short movie. Gosh I wish Google would let you upload sound clips! I tried to fool it with a WMA instead of a video, but it didn't take. We jammed a good bit, and got a nice version going of "Over the Waterfall," what sounds to me like a very pretty upbeat fiddle tune that took on some mysterious and darker coloring played slowly as a glass duet, it was recorded. Anyway:

Hadn't heard of these, what you see below. It seems if you have a lawn in southeastern Texas, fairly close to the gulf...... it'll have what John calls "dirt divers." Little Crawfish that build these pretty cool looking dwellings:

Ah, sweet mucky progress...