Butch Rovan: Teaching at Brown University, 2004-2011

Experimental Musical Instrument Design: SPRING 2011

Music 1240D / Visual Art 1800Q
Co-taught with Paul Myoda, Assistant Professor, Visual Art

eli moss instrument

This class explored experimental musical instrument design, and by extension, experimental musical composition and performance. Students developed an understanding of the science and art of instrument design through readings, listening exercises, and workshops. Concurrently, students learned to conceptualize, design, and fabricate their own experimental instruments using a variety of hand and machine tools. Percussive, stringed, and wind instruments were all explored. Additionally, a select number of electronic devices and digital processing techniques were introduced. Individual and group musical compositions were developed over the course of the semester, ultimately performed in midterm and final concerts. (Image above of instrument designed by Eli Moss.)

Click on the image below to play the video.
Video of class final concert, spring 2011.


Two student Instruments (left = Caleb Townsend, right = Alex Yuly)









Two cello-like instruments (left = Anna Dooley, right = Caleb Townsend)

caleb townsend anna dooley
















Left: chordophones by E. Zisson & A. Dooley. Right: idiophone "vests" by Isabel Mattia

zisson & dooley isabel mattia