Smith Archive(589bytes)   Invented Instruments(833bytes)

Stroking Rods

Conception by composer Robert Erickson

The Stroking Rods are a type of percussion instrument consisting of several metal rods placed vertically in a ring and mounted on a stand. A perfomer plays the instrument by stroking the metal rods with a rosin coated glove. This causes the rods to resonate and produce a sound. The rods are not tuned in equal temperment.

Some works by Erickson that include Stroking Rods:

  • Taffy Time
  • Cardinitas 68
  • Roddy (electronic tape composition)

Scraper Percussion

Conception and Design by composer Dan Senn.

Scraper Percussion by Dan Senn is both an instrument and a sculpture. Senn actually refers to it as a sound sculpture. The instrument is a sculpture of assorted metal objects that resonate in different ways. Senn composes works in which he either performs directly on the Scraper Percussion or uses electronics to resonate the sculpture which creates feeback in the electronic system.

Resources about the Scraperpercussion Instrument:

  • Vol. 10 Number 8 June 15 1990 Campus Wide (Dan Senn archive folder).
  • "Scraperpercussion Sound Sculpture: Music and Art by Dan Senn".
    Includes articles about instrument, concert reviews, concert programs and biographical information about Dan Senn (Dan Senn archive folder).
  • Multiple recordings of Scraper Percussion in Smith Archive.

For more information about Dan Senn's Scraper Percussion visit his web page.

Micro Tonal Chimes

Conception and Design by composer James Woods.

James Woods donnated the Micro Tonal Chimes to the archive shortly after it was created. Since the archive already had two invented intruments thougt the Smith Archive would be a good home for one of his Micro Tonal Chimes. The chimes are made of wood and suspended in the same as maner orchestral chimes. A performer uses a special mallet that allows for striking two chimes at a time for a total of four when right and left hand mallets are played simultaneously.

Other invented instrument resources

General information about Robert Erickson's instrument conceptions:

  • Erickson Celebration pg. 21 and 23 (Erickson folder 1).
  • On the music of Robert Erickson: A survey and some selected analyses pg 6 (Erickson folder 1).

Tube Drums

Conception by composer Robert Erickson.

Tube drums are a percussion instrument that Robert Erickson created out of old PVC pipe that was laying around the campus of UCSD where he was teaching. Over a period of time he developed a means of tuning and refining the sound of these instruments.

Articles and Recordings:

  • Recorded Lecture on tube drums (15 minutes)
  • Program Notes from two evenings of New Music Cal State University Long Beach--"About the Music" (Erickson archive folder 2)


  • Cradle
  • Cradle II (Recording)
  • Tube Drum Studies (Recording)

Percussion Loops Consol

Conception by composer Robert Erickson and Ron George.
Design by percussionist Ron George.

Loops Consol was designed by Robert Erickson and Ron George to facilitate the performance of Erickson's Pecussion Loops. This piece makes use of rapid change in percussive timbre and is almost impossible to play as a group. The piece makes use of many conventional percussion instruments and would be impossible to play by one performer without the percussion consol design of Ron George. After developing the consol, Ron George convinced other composers to write for the instrument design. Consequently there is now a small but growing repetoire for this instrument.

Other Articles on Loops Consol:

  • Information in Ron George's archive folder.
  • 9th Annual Contemporary Music Festival March 7-11 pg. 38 (Erickson folder 2).
  • Two evenings of New Music CSU Long Beach "About the Music."
  • Bio of Ron George from Erickson Celebration program pg. 39-40.

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