Custom Built Orchestra by Diego Stocco
ABOUT PROJECT by Diego Stocco
Diego has always been fascinated by the raw musical power that an orchestra can express, so, after creating a series of videos where he performs a multi-track piece with an instrument he designed, he decided to take the concept a step farther and create his own orchestra made of unusually unique instruments.
The project started by handcrafting a diverse selection of instruments, then he wrote a composition where he could fit them all in and finally he performed each part.
About the Instruments by Diego Stocco
*Note: Besides objects and materials that I purchase at the hardware store, I’m using parts that come from instruments with structural damages, making them unusable in a traditional sense.
Every year, hundreds of musical instruments get thrown away or sold for parts only, including pianos and classical strings.
Few years ago I started customizing classical strings, the first one was the Experibass.
The name came to my mind when I joined the words Experiment and Bass, because that was exactly the concept behind the instrument, joining several parts from the strings family into one unique body.
The Experiviolin has the body of a violin, the neck of an electric guitar and acoustic guitar strings.
It only has 2 strings because the neck of the guitar is flat and having 4 strings like a regular violin would make playing it unpractical. It still retains some of the tonal colors of a violin but the tone is different, also due to the custom tuning.
The starting point of the Expericello was a damaged cello.I removed the majority of the top body to insert a zither, because the additional strings create sympathetic resonances (like in a sitar).
Also the neck is completely custom built, and it uses 2 double bass strings and two piano strings. I played it by pinching the strings since there’s no fingerboard.
The Experibass combines a violin, viola and cello neck on the body of a double bass. It has a unique and recognizable sound also due to the way I play it.
I built this by using a tree branch I found on the street. It’s an electro-acoustic instrument amplified with a pick up and a built-in piezo microphone.
It has three sections, the bass with a fretted metallic neck, a 2 strings cello-like section and a vertical double bass string that can be played by pinching it.
It can be played with a bow, a chop stick, small metallic bars or picks.
This is an instrument based on light bulbs, more precisely, the sound is created by the internal tungsten filament.I pierced the light bulbs with a flame torch and placed an electret microphone inside each one.
The shape and size of the filament, plus the position of the microphone is what determines the sound.
The sound is then processed in real time through Ableton Live so the pitch can be controlled with more flexibility.
In this video you can see when I presented it for the first time.
This instruments produces mostly overtones due to the restricted air passages.
It combines a penny whistle, plastic pipes and the bell of a trombone.
The basis for this instrument is an old auto-piano. I personalized it with a custom tuning so single keys can also make chords. On the top part I added metal washers which I handpicked based on their root note.
The tuning in this part is quite interesting, I was looking for a bell-like timbre so I detuned the strings at specific intervals and at different octaves.
This instrument is based on two thick elastic cords, it can be played tonally by pressing the cords in the right position.
It makes a very low and thumping sound, it’s useful as a tonal percussive instrument.
In this percussive instrument I combined several objects that I picked based on their note.
There’s a metallic spatula, a long metallic bar, two cutlery containers/dryers, a fruit plate and clock bells.
DOUBLE FRAME DRUM
For this instrument I combined two frame drums. It produces a much lower and boomier sound than a regular frame drum.
It’s also waterproof inside in case I want to fill it up with water.
I repurposed this old piano board into a percussive instrument and played it like a harp by using the strings on the top part.
Pictures by Gianfilippo De Rossi
© 2012 Diego Stocco – All Rights Reserved