They are both musical instruments!

The instrument on the left can be found in the Accademia Museum in Florence. The instrument on the right can be found right here in Ojai’s backyard. It’s the Trimpin Sound Arch, located at the entrance to the Libbey Park Bowl. You might know that the Sound Arch is triggered by motion, but did you know it also has an interactive IPhone app?

Few of Ojai’s citizens or visitors realize that the Arch they walk under in and out of Libbey Bowl is a musical instrument that is not only triggered by motion, but also can be played on an IPhone! To demonstrate what the Sound Arch can do, the Ojai Music Festival’s Sunday line-up will feature a free 15 minute demonstration that includes local composer Raymond Powers playing the Sound Arch live on a midi interface. The “Trimpin Sound Arch Redux” will take place at 9:00 AM and is free to the public.

In 2011, the Arts Commission’s Public Art Jury selected the internationally known artist and composer, Trimpin, to contribute a musical element to the walkway into Libbey Bowl. Trimpin took care to design the curve of the Sound Arch to reflect the curve of the Libbey Bowl’s newly designed open-air dome. The Sound Arch was unveiled at the 65th Ojai Music Festival, a premier venue for the introduction of new compositions. Former Ojai Music festival Executive Director, Jeff Hayden, wrote at the time, “The symmetry of the Arch, the colors, the placement, the artist, and the fact that it is also musical in a space for music is all perfect.”

Trimpin intended that the Sound Arch serve as a living piece of auditory sculpture and toward that end composed some original compositions for the Arch. Last fall, the Trimpin Sound Arch Committee was formed to follow up on Hayden’s suggestions including that the Ojai Music Festival invite one of its visiting composers each year to compose a short piece for the Arch. This year, as part of the demonstration, one of Ojai’s talented composers, Raymond Powers, will perform a piece on a midi interface.

The Sound Arch’s crown is an automated xylophone made up of 24 tuned metal rods operated by mechanical mallets. Each of the two steel sections weighs 550 pounds. An electronic eye senses when someone walks beneath, triggering a computer to play a xylophonic precomposition creating a unique percussive experience. Trimpin built an interactive IPhone app into the Sound Arch’s computer driven programming. Anyone with an iPhone can download the app and choose a song from the available playlist. In addition Redux attendees will learn a little about Trimpin, a 1997 MacArthur “Genius Award” winner.

It has been said that Trimpin blurs the lines between sound, sculpture, and musical instrument design making it difficult to classify. In describing his artworks, Trimpin offered the following, “A blind person can hear the movement and a deaf person can see it. You don’t have to understand the science of sine waves, pitches, and timbres, to feel the impact of melodic percussive sounds.”

Please join us on Sunday, June 10, at 9:00 AM, at Libbey Bowl in front of the Sound Arch for a free public demonstration. Don’t be late! The demonstration is but 15 minutes long! You will be amazed at what one of Ojai’s iconic public artworks has to offer.

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