Experimental musicians use body as instrument

Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:49pm EDT
 
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By Chris Cottrell

BERLIN (Reuters) - Peter Kirn makes music with an unusual instrument - his own body.

The Kentucky native pinches two electrically charged pennies connected to a laptop via two short green wires.

The rudimentary contraption is held together by bits of solder and hot glue which allow him to measure the electrical currents of his body and synthesize them into melodic sound.

Kirn, 34, a writer of creative technology, is one of several artists performing in Berlin who are exploring new ways of composing music with the human body.

"As your mood changes, the skin responds because it is part of the same system as your brain, which controls the pores of your skin," Kirn told Reuters.

Fluctuating sweat levels affect the skin's ability to transmit electricity, a characteristic Kirn calls "galvanic skin response".

But Kirn's technique is just one way to tap into the human body's musical potential.

Marco Donnarumma, a 27-year-old teacher from Italy with a passion for live music, tunes into the sounds muscles make when they move. Listeners can literally hear the friction of tissue as it expands and contracts.   Continued...

 
Peter Kirn holds two coins between his fingers to create sounds with a synthesizer in Berlin, July 19, 2012. Kirn makes music with an unusual instrument - his own body. The Kentucky native pinches two electrically charged pennies connected to a laptop, measuring the electrical currents of his body and synthesise them into melodic sound. REUTERS/Thomas Peter