An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, November 12, 2007

You can't tuna fish, but you can tune a bike!

Glancing at a music review in this morning's New York Times, I noticed the following:



Opening the concert, Stefan Bartling’s “Mit Namen” and “Randnotiz” had Ekkehard Windrich, a violinist, plucking rhythms on a spinning bicycle wheel.


That reminded me that a few months ago, I saw a somewhat avant garde band (that's the charitable term) playing an instrument they called a "Duchamp." (Observant PFN readers and art snobs alike will instantly understand why.) This instrument resembled a bike wheel in a truing stand, with cards clothes-pinned into the spokes for the universally euphonious sound of a purring motor that children all over the world crave.

That sent me on an all-morning expedition to discover all the wondrous ways bicycles have been used to create music -- or, barring that, a joyful noise.

Probably the most geekish appropriation is to use a bike wheel as a sort of scratching device -- as in scratching records, but running tape on or across a wheel rim with a tapehead applied to the rim like ceramic brakes. The end results are interesting, but also quite annoying - the sort of experimental music only John Cage could love.




The folks over at CreateDigitalMusic.com have exhaustive coverage of bike-facilitated music, including the greatest accomplishment ever: Johnny Random's arrangement of "The Nutcracker Suite" performed entirely on bike parts. (And kudos to Specialized for commissioning a commercial with it.)



Being that this is the Nutcracker, I sure hope he used a Sella-Italia seat for those bowel-rumbling slap-clapping rhythms. My old Gel Flite cracks my nuts every time I throw a leg over it.

Johnny Random's accomplishment is fully awesome. But still. It's nothing compared to the music I make with my Stumpjumper at Lebanon Hills. This, unfortunately, is not audible to others: It makes an angelic song in my heart.

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