The Hydrophonium is an instrument made with submerged hydrophones in glass jars filled with water. The instrument can be tuned to different scales in 5, 7, or 11 prime limit just intonation with a MaxMSP patch that runs the signal from the hydrophones through band pass filters. Each live signal can be further processed with reverb, modulating delay, bit degradation, sample-and-hold, and looping built into the patch.

Performance techniques available include striking the jars with mallets or various objects for different effects, blowing or singing into the water through straws. Singing the resonant pitch allows for play with feedback, and singing other frequencies produces a 'ghostly' sound. Looping allows for the building layers that can be rhythmic and/or atmospheric.

The idea for the Hydrophonium originated from a favorite short story by Gabriel García Márquez, La luz es como el agua (Light is like water). This story was the inspiration behind my sound installation which is the predecessor of the instrument.

danishta