“Tambor de Agua”
Media: Wood and calabash
Description:This type of drum has roots in many world cultures. One of the halves of a calabash, the yellow part in the slide, is filled with water and other small half calabash floats in the water. When the floating half is struck with a soft mallet it produces a beautiful deep-resonant sound. The body, an allegory of a water animal like a whale is sculpted out of Cuban mahogany. The ribs in the front behave like a unit but at the same time is a movable part that can be turned in different directions.
This instrument is made out of two half calabashes. The body is designed as an allegory of a water animal like a whale made out of Cuban mahogany. The principle behind this drum has been used by many cultures around the globe.
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I design and build sound sculptures. They are made basically of wood, but at times incorporating other materials such as leather, rawhide, gourds and seeds, clay, metal and natural fibers, which produce some type of sound. They differ from musical instruments in that each piece has a unique shape and design, and that the sculptural shape of the instrument combines with the sound it produces to create an overall aesthetic effect.
Although I follow many traditional construction techniques which I learned from making traditional musical instruments, and the acoustical properties have grown out of research I have done on African, Polynesian and Latin American musical instruments, the forms are non-traditional, coming entirely out of my own imagination. Unlike ordinary musical instruments, especially those coming from the European classical tradition, each of these pieces has an individual shape which combines its musical functions with unique design elements, creating a form unlike any other object which has been used before to create a similar sound. The shapes and the sounds of these sculptures complement each other, producing a combined visual and auditory experience for both the musician and the viewer or listener.
Although my pieces are intended primarily to be art objects, they are also totally functional as musical instruments. Each sculpture is built strong enough to stand up to normal use by professional or amateur musicians. The instruments are portable, and can be played in a group, as they are either permanently tuned to a standard pitch or incorporate a tuning mechanism, so that the musician can tune them as he or she desires. Any parts, such as strings, which may be expected to wear out with repeated playing are easily replaceable. These are all qualities inherited from musical instruments but they are placed in a visual, sculptural context.