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Instruments of Denny Genovese

Tuned in Extended Just Intonation

[ Instruments of Denny Genovese ] Instruments of Jeff Bunting ] Instruments of Harry Partch ] Instruments of Ivor Darreg ]

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New Musical Instruments

Harmonic Series Music

Proposals for the new World Harmony Center

Hear all the Instruments in turn - scroll down to view them

Bass Marimba

Hear the Bass Marimba

Built in 1988 in collaboration with sculptor, Tim Treadwell.
The 10 sound blocks are made from 2" x 6" Clear Redwood.
The longest, lowest pitch block is 5' long.  It stands 8' wide and 3'high.
The lower 5 blocks are amplified by the large tubular resonators mounted below.
The higher blocks are amplified by a shared "cave" resonator.
The tuning is Harmonic Series #2-10 on C=64Hz. with an additional block tuned to 27/64.
The lowest sound is 2 duples (octaves) below middle C.


Hear the Kosmolyre

Hear the Kosmolyre

While related to the electric slide guitar and played similarly with a slide and plectrum, it has much in common with harps because of the many strings on each side. Each of the four sides are strung and tuned differently.

 Side 1 has 14 strings, tuned to Harmonics 4-16, with the lowest string (harmonic #4) tripled for power.
 Side 2 has 15 strings, tuned to Subharmonics 3-12. The highest string (subharmonic #3) is tripled for a chorus effect.
 Side 3 has four courses of 3 strings, tuned to Harmonics 1-4. this is the "Drone" or "Pedal" side.
 Side 4 (the Chord side) has 6 strings tuned to a Harmonic hexad, six tuned to a Subharmonic hexad and 6 tuned in Unisons for rich melodic playing.

 The instrument can be turned easily during performance by means of the wheels at either end of the playing board, to expose the different sides to the player.

Built by it's inventor, Ivor Darreg in the late 1970's, it was rebuilt by Buzz Kimball in the late 1980's. In 1992, it was restrung and retuned to it's present state by Denny Genovese, who also designed the stand to make it easier to play.


Hear the Hammerstrings (low and mid range)     Hear the Hammerstrings (high range)

The Frame, strings and soundboard of an upright piano
were mounted on an easel like stand (6' high x 5' wide).
It is played with marimba mallets, similarly to a Hammered dulcimer.
There are 3 ranges of strings,  With courses of unisons on each pitch.
The Bass range is tuned to the subharmonic series 4-17 (a duple lower).
The  Midrange is tuned to the harmonic series 4-17 on C=64Hz.
The highest course is tuned to subharmonics 1-12 (a duple higher).

Harmonic Series Xylophone

Hear the Harmonic Series Xylophone (1)   Hear the Harmonic Series Xylophone (2)

Rebuilt from a Deagan instrument, it is retuned to a subset of the harmonic series 11-128 on C=64Hz.

Lambdoma (subset) Xylophone

Hear the Lambdoma Subset Xylophone

Also rebuilt from a Deagan (a gift from Todd Underhill),
it is tuned to the subharmonic series 2-24 on G=768Hz.
with portions of several harmonic series scales as well.

Tubular Bells 

Hear the Harmonic Series Bells    Hear the Subharmonic Series Bells

The lower course of these clear toned bells are tuned to harmonics 4-24 on C=256Hz.
The upper course is tuned to subharmonics 2-12 on G=1536Hz.

Lambdoma Chimes

Hear the Harmonic Series Chimes      Hear the Subharmonic Series Chimes

These Capped, chrome plated brass tubes ar tuned to Harmonics 6-16 on C=64Hz.
and to subharmonics 3-11 of G=768Hz.

Big Drums

Hear the Big Drums

These drums put a solid bottom on rhythmic episodes.
They were built by Denny Genovese around 1991.

Hand Drums

Hear some Hand Drums

For extra rhythmic interest.
The two on the far left were built by Denny Genovese around 1990.


Hear the Roto Toms

Each of these 3 drums are easily tuned to various schemes by rotating them.

Fretless Guitar and Bass

Hear the Fretless Guitar and Bass     Hear the Fretless Bass

Interchangeable Fretboard guitar

(photo by Buzz Kimball)

The guitar was a gift from my brother Gary. I purchased an interchangeable fretboard kit from Mark Rankin and hired Buzz Kimball to install it. I designed and calculated the fret positions, and Buzz helped me create the magnetic fretboards, that slide on and off of the steel plate on the face of the neck. Frettings include: 5 Limit Just, 17 Limit Lambdoma, Fretless. It also works as a slide guitar when no fretboard is used.

Fipple Pipes

(photo by Steve Patmagrian)

Hear the Fipple Pipe

Harmonic series scale is played by changing breath pressure.
each length has a different fundamental frequency.
Accidently invented in 1977, several hundred were made over about 15 years thereafter.

Amplified Harmonic Kannons

(photo by Denny Genovese)

Built by Buzz Kimball, including the hand wound magnetic pickups.

Inspired by the Harmonic Kannons of Harry Partch, with an amplification method designed by Ivor Darreg, moveable bridges are placed under the strings either individually or in combinations. When the bridges are moved they change the vibrating length and frequency of the string. The paper guide under the bottom instrument makes bridge placement easier. Melodic and Harmonic sequences, Drones and ostinatos may thus be programmed for quick and easy playing.


(photo by Denny Genovese)

Designed and Built by John Starret and adapted for the Lambdoma by Denny Genovese, a configuration of guitar strings is played similarly to a keyboard, by means of the Hammer-on technique. The strings are amplified by means of magnetic guitar pickups.

16 strings are laid horizontally and tuned to Harmonics 2-17, with frets under them tuned to Subharmonics 24-4. This offers a Lambdoma Matrix (Tonality Diamond) of Harmonic chords and Subharmonic melodies.

10 more strings are tuned to Subharmonics 3-12, with frets under them tuned to Harmonics 24-64. This offers a complimentary version of the Lambdoma Matrix (Tonality Diamond) with Harmonic melodies  and Subharmonic chords.

Theremin Controlled Analog Synthesizer

(photo by John O'Brian)

Hear the Theremin

The control voltages from a Paia Theremax Theremin (donated by John Simonton) are routed to a set of ARP 2500 analog synthesizer modules (donated by Don Slepian). The pitch is controlled by moving the left hand toward the vertical antenna, and the loudness and timbre are controlled by moving the right hand toward the horizontal antenna.

Denny's Earlier Instruments

About Denny Genovese


Photos by Ken Mc Murray unless noted otherwise.




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