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The Window Gallery presents the work of contemporary makers of unusual and newly invented musical instruments, including emerging artists as well as recognized pioneers. The emphasis is on originality in concept and design, recognizing the seminal role of the search for new sounds in the expansion of musical horizons. Equally essential to the exhibits are notions of beauty, craft, and humor.

The Window Gallery is curated by Bart Hopkin and David Samas. Located at 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco, the gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm, and during performances.

Email the Gallery Manager for information, questions, comments or to propose an installation. View past installations.

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Wed, Jul 5 — Sun, Aug 27, 2017
MicroFest North: Parsing the Octave, Dennis Aman

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This second gallery exhibit of MicroFest North presents the work of Dennis Aman and his furthering the work of Ivor Darreg in small equal temperaments.

“For the past few years, I have been building a set of instruments that will allow the duo The Living Earth Show (Guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson) to perform on equal divisions of the octave 1 – 24. (Our common Western tuning system is 12 Equal Divisions of the octave) For the guitars, this means replacing frets in precisely the wrong place, but for the percussion instruments, this means tuning bars of wood or metal to specific notes that sit between the cracks of the piano’s agreed upon pitch. Along the way, some instruments have suggested avenues for other instruments. Using a proximity sensor for a Theremin in the shape of Sputnik lead towards engineer Kristof Aldenderfer and I building an instrument that could be worn by a dancer. And a Jellophone, using the body’s electrical resistance to trigger notes has led to instruments in the shape of anything that can fit into a mold. And while I prefer the purely acoustic sounds that come from wood or metal, it’s hard to resist the creative opportunities that electronic prototyping kits like the Arduino and the Teensy afford. For example, working on the Go-Kart’s optical gears suggested making a replica of Leon Theremin’s 1931 Rhythmicon, seen by some as the world’s first drum machine. With such a variety of tools and manufacturing methods available, surely one of the biggest challenges is focusing on a single project.” -Dennis Aman

About the Artist

Dennis Aman, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, studied Electronic Music at San Francisco State with Richard Festinger and Composition privately with Dan Becker. He was a chorister with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and is currently a member of the Cornelius Cardew Choir. His compositions have been performed in Lithuania, Ukraine, Japan and most recently at the “Eclectic Salon” at Villa Aurora in Los Angeles.

In addition to writing and performing, Aman is a producer and co-host of “Music From Other Minds,” a weekly new music radio show on KALW 91.7 FM in San Francisco. He is passionate about modifying and building new acoustic instruments. Aman is currently completing a commission for Electric Guitar and Percussion duo, “The Living Earth Show.” This extended work consists of 24 Preludes and Fugues in Equal Divisions of the Octave [1 through 24], as well as the building of microtonal instruments required to realize the piece.

 

 


Mon, May 1 — Wed, Aug 30, 2017
Ivor Darreg: All Equal Divisions

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All Equal Divisions is an exhibition of the work of Ivor Darreg who will have turned 100 on May 5, 2017. Megalyra instruments and original tuning charts from the Ivor Darreg Archives in San Diego are exhibited near the just intonation charts by Lou Harrison.

About the Artist

Ivor Darreg (1917-1994) was interested in both just intonations (tuning systems based on whole number frequencies ratios) and equal temperaments (tunings based on an even division of a pitch interval, such as the octave). He was fascinated by the unique aesthetic effect–the characteristic “mood”– created by each tuning. The charts included in this exhibit are representative of his thorough approach to comparative tuning system visualization. As an instrument maker he created another sort of tuning graphic in his Megalyras. These were two- or four-sided string instruments, playable with a slide, with the slide locations for various tunings laid out in full color along the necks.

Original tuning charts courtesy of Jonathan Glasier, curator of Sonic Arts Gallery in San Diego.


Thu, Sep 7 — Tue, Oct 31, 2017
Phil Dadson: shiver me timbres

shiver me timbres” – solos and collaborations with a multi-voiced instrument by Phil Dadson.

During his 2016 summer residency at Headlands Centre for the Arts (Sausalito), New Zealand based artist/musician & instrument builder Phil Dadson converted an old, wooden ex-US Military store – building 961, into a sonic play-space, an expansive instrument with multiple voices that he worked in and performed on.

Dadson’s exhibition presents a range of the instruments and sonic objects he devised during the residency, including the ‘rocker-gamelan (an adapted rocking chair), the ‘rung-ladder’, wall and floor wires, wall rods and a set of his invented instruments – the Gloop spring-string-drum, song/stones, gliss-flutes and one of his tribute instruments, the BartHarmonic, dedicated to Bart Hopkin.  Video/audio documentation of his solo performances with wall-wires, floor-wires, wall-rods, rocker etc is exhibited in the window along with visual-music graphics by Dadson and a poster co-designed with Berlin based artist-friend Gwenaël Rattke (also a Headland’s resident during summer ’16), screen printed in Berlin by Rattke especially for the show.

(Headlands Residency courtesy of the James Wallace Arts Trust & Fulbright NZ).

 

About the Artist

Phil Dadson; sound & intermedia artist with a transdisciplinary practice including solo performances and exhibitions; building experimental instruments, video/sound installation, music composition & graphic scores, sound sculptures, sound-stories and improvisations with invented instruments; Founder of New Zealand’s most original rhythm/performance group, From Scratch. Following membership of the foundation group for Scratch Orchestra (London, 1969, with Cornelius Cardew, Michael Parsons & others), founded Scratch Orchestra (NZ), and later From Scratch (1974) – known internationally for its funky rhythms & cross-rmedia performances on original instruments. Co-authored The From Scratch Rhythm Workbook with Don McGlashan, published by Heineman USA – a hands-on manual of rhythm teaching games, exercises & invented instruments, derived via the from scratch experience.

Co-authored Slap tubes & Plosive Aerophones with Bart Hopkin, EMI 2007.

Awarded NZ Arts Foundation Artist Laureate 2001. Antarctic Artist fellowship 2003. ONZM 2005. Sanskriti Residency award 2007. 9Dragon Heads collective, Venice Biennale 2015, Wallace/Fulbright Headlands Residency award 2016.

Represented by Trish Clark Gallery, Auckland.


The Window Gallery at the Center for New Music is supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2016-17.
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The Window Gallery at the Center for New Music was supported by New Music USA in 2014.