Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Spinning Flowers

Tests are underway with one of the small prototypes of the spinning flowers, this one with only a 3' radius (the others are 5'). It goes around 6 times per minute on a repurposed softball pitching machine motor.

After dreaming of various mechanisms that could strike a sounding body I settled on the simple golfball on a rope solution. This is about the right impedance match (weight, hardness) for the tone bars to make a decent sound.

There are two types of tones: one a Vietnamese hardwood clapper, the other bamboo tubes from a cannibalized windchime. The two Vietnamese clappers need a hard knock so I made a ramp just before they hit the block to allow gravity to accelerate the ball. Having two such high sharp sounds, one on each machine, should mean they will go out of phase in interesting ways since no two motors are likely to go exactly the same speed all day.

The bamboo tubes are softer and don't need the ramp so are just suspended on old door casings between rubber bands so as not to dampen the vibrations. With a larger flower the edge will travel even more quickly and give a better tone than on this small version. These can be adjusted in height and position to give different rhythms; perhaps they will phase and produce a change-ringing effect like in English campanology.

This is what it sounds like with all seven effects on a single disc (ie no phasing).

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