The Phonoharp

Walter Kitundu received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008 in part for his development of the phonoharp. What, you may ask, is that? Kitundu’s work as a sound artist and inventor of original musical instruments is described as negotiating

the boundary between live and recorded performance. Inspired by hip-hop, other modern musical forms, and traditional Asian and African instruments, Kitundu’s phonoharps are hybrids of turntables and stringed instruments. . . . The turntable’s pickup collects and amplifies any sound transmitted to it, allowing the performer to employ percussion and string resonance as well as digital manipulation, or sampling, of prerecorded material.

One of my favorites is certainly the rain-powered turntable . . . how amazing would it be to walk through the music-filled streets in a light rain?

Read more at his MacArthur bio or Web site.


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