Monday, March 17, 2008

The Flintstone Gamelan

Taking advantage of the first above 32º day I went to Lauseng Stone in Lake Elmo to select ringing stones. They have large piles of stones from quarries all over the US but only a few of them resonate convincingly when struck and all of them are heavy and hard to reach.

I ended up find a dozen slabs of flagstone, some grey limestone from Grand Rapids and some red flagstone from Colorado. These seem large enough to sit on car tires and too heavy for anyone to bother making off with. In fact this instrument weighs 775lbs; slightly less than the world's heaviest orchestra; the Thai Elephant Orchestra.

Soon they will have holes drilled at the nodes (if I can find them) and be bolted down to their supports. The tires were a generous gift from a local tire store that made me swear I was not going to put them on a vehicle, crash, and hold them liable. They act as resonating cavities as well as soft supports but they need to be matched to their particular stone size for the best result. Right now some of them sound more of a tuned dull thud than stones I have used in the past; still effective enough for this outdoor space.

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