h a l f b a k e r y
Romantic, but doomed to fail.
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Back in the days when people and humour were simpler,
various wags and wits proposed musical instruments
on animals such as pigs or cats. The theory was that you
would select cats (or pigs) based on the pitch of their
and arrange for mallets to strike their tails, under the
control of a piano-like keyboard. My, how we laughed.
Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to tune a cat or a
pig reliably*. They are sensitive to humidity, hunger and
many other parameters. Moreovermore, the width of
animals would make a full 88-note keyboard unwieldly.
If you dismantle a flying insect, you'll discover that its
wingbeats are controlled by a resonant system consisting
a springy ligament and a flight muscle. The system only
works at (or very close to) its resonant frequency, which
why most flies, wasps, bees and beetles produce a fairly
constant note when airborne. The pitch changes a bit
with temperature, and can be varied a little for banking
and pitching, but not by much.
Clearly, then, the opportunity exists to create a
fliegenspiele. Some research will be needed to find a
collection of insects which, between them, can span the
full audio spectrum. However, individual Peltier
in each insect-containing chamber will allow fine tuning.
All that is then needed is some means of actuating each
insect in response to the relevant key. The word "laser"
springs to mind at this point.
From the deep bass of the male cockchafer (no, stop it!),
to the crystalline warble of the mosquito - a full
multioctave experience awaits.
[*violinists are a prime example of this problem, and
they are only using part of the cat.]
Classic Python (the comedy group, not the programming language). [DrBob, Jun 05 2014]
The Fast Show's version of this idea [oneoffdave, Jun 06 2014]
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||I would have thought that insects from the cricket/grasshopper spectrum have a sufficient range of sizes/frequencies to make a musical instrument possible. Crickets belong to the Gryllidae family so this would be known as a Gryllidonium.
||What a very well written idea, (even the "cockchafer"
was not too risque), and I love the visual of a laser
pointing to each insect, telling them to "hit it".
||Good thing he didn't say pricklouse....damn, damn, damn
||[nrm] - I also left out Gledhill's Breastfly.
||I like it, you can try a MIDI trigger version prior to work with the acoustical arrange. Even more, the audio samples taken from insects in their habitat will result in an interpretation far more natural than the laser-compelling device [+]
||// violinists ... are only using part of the cat. //
||Nonetheless, they are richly deserving of praise and adulation,
particularly as the essential precondition for their noble art requires a
cat, or at last one that has had its digestive organs surgically excised,
which is nearly as good in terms of life-limiting condtions.
||Speaking of deep bass cockchafers; doesn't old Beelzybub play one of these?
||//are only using part of the cat.
||It's worse than you think, they also presumably (in the old days) used parts of fish or horse for glue and innumerable bits of dead trees..ewww!
||Rabbits, [nmrm], and most would be horrified by your suggestions of //in the old days//.
||I suspect the substantial and unpredictable latency
inherent to any attempt to force a living creature to do
your bidding on command would make this very difficult to
play well, or even with a consistent mediocrity. You could
do it with a sampler, of course, but that would be cheating.
||That said, I wonder if there are any insects whose droning
changes pitch dependent on ambient conditions
(temperature and such). You could use that to bend certain
||Crickets would do, for part of the range.
||//I suspect the substantial and unpredictable
latency inherent to any attempt to force a living
creature to do your bidding on command//
||The hand is quicker than the eye is,
But not as nimble as the fly is.
||// the substantial and unpredictable latency inherent to any attempt to force a living creature to do your bidding on command //
||I see you've worked with drummers before, [ytk]
||Aha! The unidexter awakes!