Sound Inventions is a collection of 34 articles taken from Experimental Musical Instruments, the seminal journal published from 1984 through 1999. In addition to the selected articles, the editors have contributed introductory essays, placing the material in cultural and temporal context, providing an overview of the field both before and after the time of original publication.

The Experimental Musical Instruments journal contributed extensively to a number of sub-fields, including sound sculpture and sound art, sound design, tuning theory, musical instrument acoustics, timbre and timbral perception, musical instrument construction and materials, pedagogy, and contemporary performance and composition. This book provides a picture of this important early period, presenting a wealth of material that is as valuable and relevant today as it was when first published, making it essential reading for anyone researching, working with or studying sound.

part 1|29 pages

Introductory Essays

chapter 1|17 pages

Perspectives on New Instruments

Ideas and Questions that Shape the Field of Experimental Musical Instrument Making

chapter 2|10 pages

The Experimental Musical Instruments Journal

A History, as Recalled by the Founder and Editor

part 2|389 pages


chapter 3|5 pages

Steel Cello and Bow Chimes

Designed and Built by Robert Rutman

chapter 4|8 pages

The Long String Instrument

Designed and Built by Ellen Fullman

chapter 6|10 pages

The Megalyra Family of Instruments

Designed and Built by Ivor Darreg (1917–1994)

chapter 8|8 pages

The Waterphone

Designed and Built by Richard Waters

chapter 10|16 pages

Structures Sonores

Instruments of Bernard and François Baschet

chapter 11|9 pages

Tata and his Kamakshi Veena

chapter 12|8 pages

Bamboo is Sound Magic

chapter 13|6 pages


chapter 14|4 pages

The Pikasso Guitar

chapter 15|11 pages

The Piatarbajo

Its History and Development

chapter 18|12 pages

Membrane Reeds

Indonesia and Nicasio

chapter 20|11 pages

The Giant Lamellophones

A Transatlantic Perspective

chapter 21|6 pages

Tumbas, Rumba Boxes, and Bamboo Flutes

Caribbean Instruments by Rupert Lewis

chapter 23|20 pages

Relating Timbre and Tuning

chapter 26|21 pages

Augustus Stroh and the Famous Stroh Violin

Or “The Inventors of Abnormalities in the Field of Violin-Building Have Not Yet Become Extinct”

chapter 31|22 pages


chapter 32|11 pages


chapter 33|25 pages

Mechanical Speech Synthesis

chapter 34|14 pages

Beyond the Shaker

Experimental Instruments and the New Educational Initiatives

chapter 35|23 pages

The Photosonic Disk

chapter 36|7 pages

Journey Through Sound and Flame

A Ceramic Musical Instrument Maker