From rare woods, dry intestines, horse hair dusted with crystallized pine sap, humans will make instruments out of just about everything.
But who would imagine that, acoustically speaking, a whole orchestra of teams could be formed from ice?
It turns out that ice instruments have a very good and very unique sound, one that Tim Linhart, an American ice sculptor turned instrument maker, describes as having the “purity and clarity of the celestial realm.”
“There is a lot of potential in ice as an acoustic material,” says Linhart in a YouTube mini-document from Great great story. Linhart has learned, through trial and error, how to sculpt an entire orchestra out of nothing but ice water, including violin, viola, cello, double bass, mandolin, guitar, banjo, xylophone, drums, and marimba.
“I decided [for] one of my sculptures I would like to build a giant violin ”, explains Linhart. “And I had a friend who was building guitars and he asked, ‘Yeah, I wonder what that one is going to sound like.’
“And that question has swallowed up much of the rest of my life,” Linhart said.
Linhart, who also carves concert halls out of ice, a cross between a giant igloo and a tiny amphitheater, founded Ice Music, an ice touring concert group based in Sweden and Italy.
A sample of his music on SoundCloud includes a performance of the Minor swing by Django Reinhardt, where the difference in sound between ice and wood instruments can be heard perfectly.
A global phenomenon
Linhart is undoubtedly a pioneer, having built 19 ice orchestras and 11 igloo concert halls. But he is not alone in this most extreme form of music.
In 2000, the world’s first ice music concert took place under an icy waterfall in Lillehammer, Norway. The composer and conductor, Terje Isungset, continues to be one of the world’s leading ice music producers.
Having performed hundreds of concerts around the world, Isungset performed at the 2017 Nobel Prize Gala Dinner, which featured renowned Swedish traditional vocalist Lena Willemark, and which began with a 10-second blast of a carved ice horn.
“When I started playing on transparent ice, I found its pure sound surprisingly warm and smooth compared to the sound of crushed ice under your feet, which is a very cold sound,” Isungset said. National Geographic.
Insungset also started the annual ice music festival, held every year in Norway for those who are willing to endure the freezing temperatures necessary for the instruments to maintain their shape throughout the concert.
Problems like hot hands and lips that heat up the instruments mean that the string section gradually alters its pitch throughout the concert, but a cooler environment can help prevent these material problems.
They do present other challenges, however, as the musicians ‘normally nimble fingers are slowed by the numbing cold and the musicians’ lips stick to their instruments like children in a Christmas story.
While the pandemic has prevented ice concerts from taking place recently, the Ice Music Festival is on track to make a comeback in 2022, and after Milan was awarded the 2026 Winter Olympics, Linhart immediately began drafting proposals. for an ice concert as part of the opening ceremony. .
(CLOCK igloo orchestra in action below).
Featured Image: Bjørn Furuseth for @ IceMusicFestivalNorway /Instagram
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