Reimagining the Accordion

Digital accordion virtuoso Cory Pesaturo was interviewed this afternoon by Robin Young on Here and Now. (To listen, click here.) It’s a wonderful interview that will change the way you listen to accordion. (Not just polka anymore…) All performers of lesser-known instruments might sympathize. Here’s a few youtube clips that show just a bit of variety, starting with Pesaturo.

The boy accordion virtuoso (featured on boingboing) playing Bach’s Passacaglia in C Minor.

And an interview, with sound samples, of South American Chango Spasiuk.

And thanks to Brian, for the Renegade accordion! in NYC:

New York on the Clock: Nathan Stodola, Renegade Accordion from

A classic, of course, would be Pauline Oliveros.

Pyrophones, eh?

I was at a musical instrument conference last weekend, and for the first time I heard the classification “pyrophone.” That is, instruments that create sounds from heat and/or fire. I suppose that I’m not much of an organologist if I haven’t heard about this, but at least I’ve got things to learn, eh?! Sorry to split hairs, but unless I grossly misunderstand this, which is entirely possible, isn’t the example below really an aerophone? Feel free to correct me. In any case, beautiful sounds and a fascinating instrument in development.

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.