The Springboard (Pt. 9, Finished)

This is the ninth and final of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

The finished instrument.

I have finished the instrument! The polyurethane has dried, the instrument reassembled, and the pickups have been mounted. Near the end of this post is a sound sample. Continue reading The Springboard (Pt. 9, Finished)

The Springboard (Pt. 6, Sanding and Bridging)

This is the sixth of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

After a busy week of psets and other final projects, I spent today working on the instrument. The goal for today was to figure out the “bridge” idea I mentioned in the previous post, and to cleanup the instrument and make it presentable.

The resulting “bridge” on the cleaned up instrument.

In order to make the bridge and also cleanup the instrument, I was going to need some more supplies.  Continue reading The Springboard (Pt. 6, Sanding and Bridging)

The Springboard (Pt. 5, Prototype 2)

This is the fifth of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

Taking what I learned from my first prototype, I went ahead and modified the first to create the second prototype.

Flipping Out

I began by flipping the layout- the hook bridge was now at the very top of the instrument, and the screws at the bottom. The screws were staggered to approximate the angle at which I bowed, as pictured.

Playability improved immensely. The bow no longer got caught on the screws, and, by adjusting the height of the springs in relation to each other, the springs could easily be bowed sequentially or in pairs. Continue reading The Springboard (Pt. 5, Prototype 2)

The Springboard (Pt. 4, Initial Prototype)

This is the fourth of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

With doubts and uncertainty growing, I needed to figure out whether this idea was actually going to work; I needed to develop a prototype. After keeping an eye open for free materials (at MIT you tend to find a lot of useful things being thrown out), I came across some leftover wood that could be used. Armed with a single janky drill and hand saws, I created the initial, somewhat sketchy, prototype (essentially a wooden plank with springs). Continue reading The Springboard (Pt. 4, Initial Prototype)

The Springboard (Pt. 3, Springs!)

This is the third of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

The springs have arrived!

The springs arrived in the mail yesterday, allowing me to do some hands on experimentation. I ordered a number of extension springs, each with different diameters, wire gauge, and spring constants. Continue reading The Springboard (Pt. 3, Springs!)

The Springboard (Pt. 2, Initial Experimentations)

This is the second of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

By now I have received enough materials to begin experimenting with my Springboard ideas.

The first item I received was my bow. Prior to this, I had only held a bow once, so this was definitely new to me. The first thing I did was familiarize myself with it and look up how bows are tightened and typically held; it turned out there’s no completely standard way to hold one (there are variations on a basic grip), so I just held it as was comfortable. I then applied the rosin, which was difficult since it was a new bar and completely smooth. After scratching the surface, the rosin began transferring from the bar onto the bow. Continue reading The Springboard (Pt. 2, Initial Experimentations)

The Springboard (Pt. 1, Ideas)

This is the first of a number of posts pertaining to the progress of my 21M.299 (The Social Lives of Instruments) final project, The Springboard.

For our final project in 21M.299 we have been tasked with designing and building an instrument. I’ve decided to build an instrument that utilizes springs as the vibrating body. Springs under tension can be tapped and plucked to create harmonic and dissonant tones, so it is likely that, with a bit of experimentation, they could be played in pitch consistently. The key part of this project is to play the springs with a standard violin bow, as this would allow pitched and sustained, rather than percussive, sounds.

Continue reading The Springboard (Pt. 1, Ideas)