Peter Whitehead builds a wide variety of instruments from scavenged materials. He primarily makes string instruments.

Feature in EMI

Peter Whitehead is a frequent writer for EMI1)


“Cans and Springs and Bars and Plates and Wheels” by Peter Whitehead. 2 pages; 5 photos, 1 diagram.
Whitehead’s instruments use readily available materials, simple construction methods, and have the appearance of junk sculpture. These are described in the notes accompanying each of the five instruments pictured. Their names partly describe their material constitution. The Channel Bars is basically an aluminum xylophone. The Single Bar consists of a steel bar resting on two balloons. The Can-Can is a hanging construct suspended by coil springs. In addition to a bicycle wheel Spoke-Speak also uses metal bowls and a garbage can, and The Metal Cone is a freestanding construction using circular metal plates. The notes also describe playing techniques and their sounds.


“Mobius Operandi: Instruments by Oliver Di Cicco”: Peter Whitehead. 5 pages; 9 photos.
A description and tour of instrument builder Oliver Di Cicco’s sound sculpture instruments that consist primarily of percussion and stringed instruments made from steel, aluminum and wood and fitted with pick-ups.

VOLUME 8 #4, JUNE 1993

“Don’t Sue Me, I Just Want Your Sounds,” by David Barnes. 3 pages; 4 photos.
The author describes his compositional and instrument-making work based on other people’s instruments that he has seen described in earlier issues of EMI. He discusses his instrument based on Tom Nunn’s T-Rodimba, his Trash Can Platter based on instruments from Peter Whitehead, a bass tubulon (steel conduit marimba), and his PVC Monster based on Phil Dadson’s end-slapped plosive aerophone tubes.

VOLUME 11 #3, MARCH 1996

“Soundculture 96: An Exhibition of Experimental Instruments at the Falkirk Cultural Center”: Mitchell Clark. 1+ page.
The Soundculture Festival of 1996 explored the interface of new instruments and new music. Tom Nunn, Fran Holland, Peter Whitehead, and Oliver Di Cicco appeared; short descriptions of their unique inventions appear in this review.

VOLUME 13 #3, MARCH 1998

“Empty Vessels: Readymade Resonators for String Instruments”: Peter Whitehead. 3 pages; 11 photos; 1 diagram.
Instrument innovator and composer Peter Whitehead describes ways of building plucked string instrument (i.e. banjo, bass lyre) using found or reused metal containers as resonators (i.e. cookie or ham containers; pie tins) and then describes bowed instruments (i.e. tamboura, etc.).


Letters and Notes. 5 pages; 7 photos; 1 drawing.
Peter Whitehead: Adding a pickup to something does not make it an instrument.


Video interview 2)

peter_whitehead.txt · Last modified: 2020/05/20 08:21 by mete
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