the "Drankorgel" project
The "drankorgel" project is an artistic installation of a MIDI instrument that generates sounds by hitting bottles with spoons and by blowing air over bottles. The hitting part consists of 5 spoon-shelves. Each shelf carries six bottles and each bottle has a spoon in front of it. Each bottle is tuned to a tone by filling it with water. Hence, 30 tones are available and by tuning the bottles chromatically, a range of 2 octaves and a half can be played by hitting them. The blowing part consists of 3 blow-units in a 4-5-4 bottle configuration. 13 bottles can be blown. By filling them with water, 13 low tones may be generated by blowing air over the bottles and, if tuned chromatically, 1 bass octave is available. The "drankorgel" may be played in several MIDI controlled ways. A MIDI track can be generated with a PC by using an app, able to translate music scores into a MIDI file. The MIDI file is then send to the central control board of the "drankorgel" via a serial interface. The central control board parses the file and will control the connected spoon-shelves and blow-units, playing the track. MIDI files can also be stored in the internal memory of the "drankorgel". Each file has a number and by selecting the corresponding number on the keypad, the file will be played. When files are stored internally, no external PC is needed. The third way to control the "drankorgel" is by playing live. Here the MIDI input of the "drankorgel" is connected to the MIDI output of a MIDI keyboard. By playing keys on the keyboard, spoons hit the bottles and the bass tones are generated on the blown bottles. The sound of the "drankorgel" is comparable to the sound of a carillon. However, carillons do not have the bass tones, generated by blowing air over bottles. And carillons use bells instead of bottles, making a pure, less harsh sound, but the simplicity of the "drankorgel" justifies the sound of bottles, hit or blown. The full description has links to a number of YouTube video clips.
Must art be innovative? No, the purpose of art is creating an experience which triggers emotions. People hit bottles and blow over them since the very first bottle is invented. The "drankorgel" uses the same bottles, only in a different, rather unexpected way. Yet art may be innovative. Not for the art itself but to attract people's attention to the art. The drankorgel is a collection of bottles, with little appeal. It becomes art because of the way it generates sounds and thus attracts people. It is innovative because it uses advanced technology to trigger emotions in a simple way.