The Human Harp, a global multi-media project founded by Di Mainstone, explores the idea of attaching controls to suspension cables, making it possible to ‘play’ a bridge as an electro-acoustic instrument.
Here’s an example, recorded at Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge:
Here’s the Human Harp recording at the Brooklyn Bridge:
Human Harp is based on a small collection of devices that clip onto suspension bridges:
- Bridge-Bow Device that will cause the hanger to vibrate by being struck by rubber balls. The striking action is caused by the ‘Movician’ pulling on a retractable string housed in a pulley built from a modified dog lead.
- The Digi-Bow controls the sound generated by the hanger it is attached to. The sound generated by the Bridge-Bow is captured by the contact microphone connected to the Digi-Bow. This audio is passed on to the Hub. The Digi-Bow contains a Pulley constructed from a modified dog lead as used in the Bridge-Bow. The length of string extracted from the pulley is captured by a rotary encoder and the angle that the string is extracted is captured by a gyroscope. This circuitry is largely contained to the Tech Dome attached to one side of the pulley and protected by a 3D printed dome. The Digi-Bow is attached to the hanger with a rubber Hang-On and carabiner. It receives power from the Hub and sends the Hub the data the string generates along with the audio from the contact microphone.
- The Hub houses the computer processing the audio captured by the contact mic and the control data generated by the Digi-Bow.
- Harp-Hoist – A modified extendable pole with a 3D printed Harp-Hook at the end, to allow easy installation of the the parts of the Human Harp that are attached to the hanger without needing heavy-equipment such as scissor lifts.
- Harp-Harness – A garment worn by Movicians during a performance. It contains a number of integrated pieces of hardware that let the Movician easily attach multiple strings to their body.
Details are available at the project site.