Tinkertunes : Instruments

This page is currently under construction,
but you can see video of all of our instruments on our YouTube Channel .

Kinderbells the Musical Flower Garden, was an entry in the 2013 ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The eight brightly colored bells, tuned to a G Major diatonic scale, are made from the tops of condemned oxygen tanks, and are played by shaking rope handles which are attached to golf balls. The Garden Club of Cadillac, Michigan has received a grant to purchase this piece, and it will be installed this spring in that city’s sound garden

In 2012, our first ArtPrize entry, The JunkYard Music Box finished in the top 50 of over 1500 art works. This human powered, automated musical sculpture was made entirely of recycled material, and attracted huge crowds. You can watch a video about it here

One of our most popular instruments has been our lithophones, which are made from granite countertop.
We have built them for the Raven Hill Discovery Center , Charlevoix Public Library , Garoon Gateway to Science , Lansing Community College’s Early Learning Children’s Community , and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums .

Perhaps our most unusual instruments, are our friction harps . Made of solid aluminum rods, the sound is generated using longitudinal vibrations which are created by rubbing the rods with rosin covered fingers.

The newest addition to the Earth Tones Music Garden at the Raven Hill Discovery Center is an instrument constructed of brake drums and rotors from a scrap metal yard. They weren’t tuned, just used “as found”, but the eight notes they produce when struck with a wrench, are close to a major diatonic scale.

One of our recent projects was the installation of a Sound Garden for the Petoskey Central Elementary School, in Petoskey Michigan. The garden was commissioned by the school PTO to honor retiring principal Dale Lewis.

This video shows one of the pieces, a set of eight bells made from recycled oxygen tanks.
The bells are tuned to a major scale in the key of C.

My “Toolbox Glockenspiel”, which took third place at Cycling Salamander Art Gallery’s SMART show during the summer of 2011. This metalaphone is tuned to the key of C and has two and a quarter diatonic octaves. You can see a video of one of these instruments here

Instruments at the Garoon Gateway to Science

The “Pipes of Pan” are stainless steel tubes which demonstrate resonant frequecies. Visitors to the park can place their ears to the ends of each tube, and hear specific pitches amplified.

The technical name of the “Slap Pipes” is end-struck plosive aerophones. They are played by slapping the open ends with a paddle, causing the column of air in each pipe to vibrate at a specific frequency, determined by the length of the tube. These stainless steel pipes are tuned to a C major diatonic scale.