Instrument Making



Since the AC-PVC years Peter maintained an interest in experimental and recycled materials musical instrument making. As a personal pursuit and during community residencies, the following instruments have been developed:
  • Crutch Flute - made from medical walking crutches, as part of the Albany RESURRECT residency, together with Cecile Williams (link) Saz Lockyer, Mick and Sandy O'Doherty, Sue Codee

  • Foot Pump Poor Persons Bagpipe - made from air mattress pump, rubber gloves and assorted recycled washing machine parts... a Scottish nightmare!

  • trigeridoo - a three way didgeridoo which was an experiment to produce some nuances to one of the oldest musical instruments, the Australian aboriginal didgeridoo.

  • Whak bikes - seen as mobile musical sculptures these electric motor driven piece contained a vast number of sound producing possibilities.....as bass drums (sailcloth on sulo bins), cymbals, sirens, horns, kick pedals hitting tambourines and woodblocks, chord-o-phone, didgeridoos, pan pipes and ultimately the use of samplers with inbuilt sound system.

  • meggadrums - a series of super huge bass drums, made from water tanks. These were built as sculptural pieces, to resemble huge preying mantis. The last built of these puts me into the Guiness Book of Records as having built the worlds biggest musical drum .....4 meters in diameter!!

  • a series of instrument were made specifically for Tok Pan Tok performances and the recording of the Eyes Of A Child CD. These included:-

    • kazoo pan pipes - are a cross between a Chinese flute, with its extra hole covered with a piece of rice paper, to create a 'buzzing' sound, and that of a typical pan pipe.
    • hand held thong-o-phones, end blown bass thong-o-phones, bass thong-o-phone.... quite simply pieces of plumbing tube cut to different tuning lengths and either struck with a 'thong'/rubber beater or blown into.
    • drop tubes - are bass pan pipe tubes bounced onto a slab of concrete
    • tube drums - small diameter plastic tubes with laminex glued to one end(as the skin of a drum) and then struck with either fingers, finger nails or small rubber beaters.
    • Chloro drums - randomly tuned chlorine bins, used in the transport of swimming pool chemicals, and pulled from the rubbish dump in Kununurra, these made interesting percussive semi tuned instruments
    • lekolilo -a version of a harmonic flute that I had seen in South Africa
    • seaweed horns - lengths of kelp, which grows off the coast of Cape Town and eventually washes up onto the shores, I made a series of flutes, saxophones, didgeridoos and simple trumpeted horns.
    • pan pipes in odd tunings - a series of specifically made instruments allowing me to play in different keys, Indian raga tunings, Bolivian pentatonic scales or with odd changes in timbre to other existing instruments. The material used is poly carbonate tubing.
    • berimbau - a one stringed instrument from the north of Brazil, the berimbau is typical of many instruments I have made, in that I have wanted to play such an instrument but have not been able to find one here in remote Western Australia.... so I've made it myself. On this instrument I have made some modifications such as adding a guitar tuning peg for fine tuning and installed an amplification pickup into it.
    • bird whistles - using reticulation fittings and simply carved fipple holes to create different bird effects
    • cuica - a friction drum (most commonly from Brazil), made by connecting a shaved down chopstick to a kangaroo skin which has been stretched over a 200mm diameter tube. The chopstick is then rubbed with a small damp rag and pitch changed by placing the finger on and off the skin.
    • poor persons bagpipe - using simple materials such as a balloon, rubber glove, film canister, and 16mm electrical conduit, results in an instrument resembling a bagpipe
    • tin tin - a rude version of a high hat (from the drum kit).... built in dedication to the Vulimba Six Boys drummer, from Malawi, whose complete drum kit was made of found objects (rubbish).
    • boingrimba - spring wire tied to bottles to produce a specific vibrating sound
    • vuuta vuuta - the acoustic musician fights back!!.... this simple instrument is able to produce the sounds of electronica and turntable scratching.
    • Rondrum, bombodrum, Sulobindrum, datdrum, talking drum - these and many more derivations of sculptural drums, using differing vibrating membranes from goat, kangaroo and calf skins to sailcloth.