Instruments for groups of people with complex disabilities.
Instruments specifically designed for an individual's requirements.
Instruments used in hydrotherapy pools.
Instruments are designed and constructed with individuals or groups to accommodate specific needs and abilities. The design process involves gaining a thorough understanding of the intended players requirements and skills through visits and discussions. Unique instruments are therefore created which work well for the individual.
Oily Cart commissioned a series of three drums for their show
The finished 1.5 meter drum on its stand at Oily Cart rehearsal studios
The drum is skinned in a similar way to that of the Japanese taiko (big) drum. The huge skin is Thai water buffalo. The massive tension needed to stretch and tune the skin is created by 16 stainless steel turnbuckle screws. The photos below show the making of the large 1.5 meter diameter drum. The skin is softened by soaking in water for two days. It is then laid out flat, and the positions of the holes marked out. These are then punched through.
A stainless steel hoop is laced through the holes in the skin and the tensioners. The ends of the hoop are connected by another turnbuckle (bottom of photo).
The skin is on the drum frame and dried in front of a wood burner. Drums are just left out in the sun to dry in Thailand.
Close up detailing lacing method. The pegs are holding the soft wet skin, and preventing it from uncurling. Once dry the skin is very stiff.
The design brief for this was to make an instrument that people with complex disabilities (Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder) could play. The instrument works by merely gently pushing it, which makes it rock back and forth. It has a very heavy base so will not fall over. It can be spun round and round. The sounding part of the instrument consists of tubular bells slung vertically in a circle and a hard ball suspended on a cord in the centre of the tubes. As the instrument rocks back and forth the ball bounces randomly off the tubes. Tubes are tuned to avoid dissonances, and notes are doubled up and tuned very slightly apart so they beat like a Javanese gong or Balinese gamelan instruments.
Pair of Mbila
These single bar xylophones originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pair are tuned to an interval of a fifth, the lower one being G at 96 hertz. They produce a very powerful, yet mellow tone due to the large size of the resonator. These instruments are very effective in multisensory environments because of the powerful way the calabash vibrate when played. These were developed for Oily Cart Theatre Co. for their multisensory shows.