Electric Gongs

Electric Gongs was an interactive experimental music installation created by the de la maquina design group, and was displayed at Austin Childrens Museum Jan-Sept 2008. 

It is currently under further development.

The story starts kind of like this. Several years ago, I bought a 22″ wind gong just for fun. One day it was hanging on the wall and I sneezed as I walked by it. I heard the sound of my sneeze echoing inside the gong. It was a peculiar sounding echo; it seemed like certain frequencies were emphasized and others were absent. I got interested in what the sound of a gong actually consists of. It turns out that it is not really just “noise” as engineers think of it, it is more like a whole bunch of individual notes that are ringing at the same time. Like if you were to walk up to a piano, and you put your foot on the damper pedal, and played all of the keys at once. It would make a big roar. That’s what you get when you hit a gong with a mallet, a sound containing lots of individual notes all ringing together. Thinking back to the way my sneeze was picked up in the gong, I realized that it might be possible to play the notes in the gong one at a time…

Gong Lab

tones of 36-inch electric gong

Listen

electric gong glissando

Gershwin’s Summertime played on 22″ electric gong

You can experiment with the sound of the 36″ electric gong here.