Pulb by Dohi Moon and Bjoern Erlach (CCRMA)

Dohi Moon and Bjoern Erlach : Pulb

Pulb is an installation in which a piano sound board is played by a machine dropping water at the strings to excite them.  The strings respond with very soft vibrations to the impact of the drops.  The vibrations of the strings are picked up with piezoelectric discs and are amplified by speakers.  The resulting sounds exhibit very different characteristics from the sound of plugged piano strings or the sounds produced by the strings struck by a hammer.  By adjusting the placement of the pickups different sounds ranging from loud percussive hits to very soft harp-like sounds.  We searched interesting constellations of the pickups while having the machine drop water in different patterns.  Much of the instrument’s charm is due to the element of chance and the non uniformity between the sounds produced by the individual strings.  The path the water takes through the air onto the pianoboard varies slightly from drop to drop.  Sometimes the drops split and hit the strings in more than one position. Instead of trying to achieve the precision of a steril medical device we inserted bend needles into the water outlets to amplify the organic and slightly non deterministic behaviour. The organization of the drops is varied between random drops resembling rain falling on the board and repetitive patterns. If order is slowly introduced, patterns start to appear, at first seemingly accidentally until recognizable repetitions of material occur.

Dohi Moon’s works has been performed in the United States, Norway, France, and Korea, by Western Michigan Orchestra, MSU Children’s Choir, neoPhonia New Music Ensemble, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Nobilis trio, Stephen Prutsman, Livia Sohn, Suren Bagratuni, Erica Ohm, and many well-known soloists. Her music won the first prize at the 2009 Østfold Musikkråd¹s competition in Norway, the third prize of 2009 InNova Musica – Music and Video Art Competition. She is spending time as a visiting scholar at CCRMA, Stanford University.

Bjoern Erlach was born in Germany, studied Sonology in The Hague and is currently a Phd candidate at CCRMA Stanford.