Ladder Spectra
(Mar, 2023)

Six metal plates hang from red nylon string, underneath each is a tower of bricks with three solenoids primed to strike at different points on each plate. The plates come from a disassembled ladder steel bookshelf that sat around unused for years - but upon disassembly of this bookshelf, the spectral peculiarity of these plates became apparent.

There were actually fourteen metal plates gathered from that bookshelf, but I chose six of those fourteen plates based on their spectral qualities. Each of the fourteen plates was struck at three different points, each of those points emphasizing a different sets of harmonics. These strikes were recorded and analyzed and the most prevalent harmonics were found. From that information the composition was formed and the arrangement of the plates was considered.

It is worth mentioning that plates were meant to hold books and were not meant to be used as an instrument, and that is what makes them interesting to me. Assumingly the plates are formed using the same manufacturing process, but their manufacturing standards did not consider their use as an instrument. This resulted in a collection of plates that are all delightfully detuned from each other. I found that each plate has its own peculiar non-linear harmonic series.

I suppose this piece isn't too experimental, but one goal is to allow for an appreciation of the varying spectra due to the precision of the mechatronic strikes and the sparsity of the composition.