Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too
“Trees Harp and Wind Harps, too” is a collection of instruments for listening, meditation, and performance commissioned by the city of Boulder as a part of their Experiments in Public Art. I made these instruments response to and mostly of wood from Ash trees felled in the city’s Central Park due to infestation by the Emerald Ash Borer. All other materials were sourced secondhand, with the exclusion of the strings and tuning hardware.
Much like the landscape, these instruments are living and changing. They are tuned by the elements and sometimes sound because of them. While the components of these instruments may be recognized from traditional musical instruments, these are not instruments for music making. The strings may vibrate loudly, clamor, buzz, and pitches may bend. Their sounds resonate against a dense or a hollow body. You may notice that you have to listen very closely to hear the sounds they make. There are other things to be heard in the absence of sound; this involves listening with your eyes, ears, and mind.
My performance of these instruments is led by their environmental collaborators. In this case, the compositions created are dictated by the running creek, wind, and density of the surrounding treescape. Plucking their strings is always either in unison or in competition with the existing environment.
These instruments were installed between June 28th-June 30th, 2018 in Boulder, Colorado and a series of events were held for their listening. Flutist, composer, and certified Deep Listening practicioner Jane Rigler led a group in sonic meditations and a sound walk, ending at the installation and solo performance by myself. Additionally, I performed the instruments solo on multiple mornings throughout their installation, as well as a duet with performer Fiona Small.