Gran Cassa  and the adaptive instrument Feed-drum




Centro Ricerche Musicali

Via Lamarmora, 18 - 00185 Roma

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The abstract presents my piece Gran Cassa (1999 ˝ 2003) in the version for Feed-drum, a large electroacoustic percussion instrument that I conceived for my piece Feedback (2002).

Music and its primary element, sound, derive from the condition of excitation and resonance of bodies set in vibration. Traditional instruments, and any other element whose matter is capable of oscillation, produce under certain conditions vibrations which can be perceived both by the ear or by touch. The study of oscillatory phenomena and of the characteristics with which matter vibrate and radiate energy is today the object of my expressive, linguistic and scientific research (PlanofoniĂ), as in the case of my recent works of performative art where, in addition to musical instruments, the sounds are produced by objects, bodies and human action.

The  Feed-drum is a large drum, composed of a membrane with a vibrational map drawn on its surface based on the Bessel functions and on the principle of the ýfeedbackţ of the sound signal. It allows for the first time the musician to select and control the complex vibrational modes of the membrane, both in mono and multiphonic modes, by mean of particular techniques.

Sound, produced by the action of the musician by percussion, pressure or friction, selects on the surface of the membrane, one or more nodes (like a string instrument) which produces one or more pitches and timbres.

Differently from a string, which might be considered mono-dimensional, the membrane varies its vibrational modes in two dimensions, this means the use of a new technique of performing the instrument because the generated frequencies are not harmonics but follows a non linear behaviour.

An important feature of the Feed-drum is that the tones generated by the instrument can be varied in amplitude and also hold indefinitely by the musician, exceeding the limit of the short time duration of the sounds of all percussion instruments.

In my work Gran Cassa (first version 1999), I first experimented the membrane behaviour and it was the preliminary study for the development of the Feed-drum. 

This instrument, for its intrinsic capacity of transforming the sound, responds to both the velocity and direction of the performersÝ gestures. Each type of sound is correlated to the type of gesture that produces it, to the distance travelled by the hand of the performer and to the speed with which the hand moves across the different areas of the membrane.











Michelangelo Lupone ˝  Gran Cassa score