Development of Unique and Bizarre Instruments

Mia Frank, College of Engineering

Collaborators: Chris Gerace, SMTD, LSA; other members of UMGroove

This project relies on interdisciplinary principles, emphasizing the vital role of engineering, arts, and music in creating high-quality instruments. This process involves intricate design and mathematical calculations typically performed by engineers, the artistic viewpoint that allow for creative and meaningful designs, and a nuanced understanding of musical intentions and tuning, often driven by a musical mindset.

Instruments are not merely functional items, but distinctive works of art. Our group’s primary objective is to create something we can proudly showcase, instrument’s that carry the meaning and feeling we wish to communicate through the sounds it generates.

Collaboration is an essential aspect of this project, particularly considering this is a student organization. Having an open mind to perspectives involved, and setting and maintaining ground rules are crucial to fostering a respectful and fun environment. This approach ensures effective collaboration and the smooth progress of the project. We have established a timeline for the project.

By February, we expect each group member interested in creating an instrument or structure to propose an idea. They are then required to submit a cost analysis for approval prior to purchasing necessary materials. A number of build days will be scheduled in a scene shop, providing access to the necessary tools for construction. Each team member is responsible for proposing an idea, compiling the cost breakdown, and procuring and constructing their conceptual instrument.

By March, all instruments should be ready for use. Our goal is to create interest, joy, and fun in projects like this. We plan to exhibit these unique instruments at our semi-annual show and perform with them to inspire others to embark on similar projects.

As a diverse student organization, we boast a wide range of skills. Our team comprises members with musically adept backgrounds, along with those experienced in design and structural creation. We also have artists who frequently work on similar projects, and those exceptionally skilled in building and fabricating. Together, we anticipate creating something truly unique and inspiring.