THE EARTH HARP - INVENTED BY WILLIAM CLOSE
THE EARTH HARP
This is William's most widely known musical creation. The giant strings of instrument tie into the architecture or the landscape. The space is transformed into the instrument. In a theater / concert hall for instance the EARTH HARP chambers rest on the stage and the strings go from the stage, out over the audience to the balcony or some aspect of the architecture. The theater becomes the instrument. The audience is experiencing the music from inside the instrument!
"It's like being in a giant cello" New York Times
The first EARTH HARP
William Close invented the first EARTH HARP at the turn of the millennium. He mounted four large resonators and bridge roughly the size of a 2 grand pianos to the ground on one side of a valley. He then ran the strings from that side of a valley almost 1000ft across to the other side, creating a giant harp out of the landscape. This was the worlds first EARTH HARP!
Since then he has had the honor of installing the EARTH HARP all around the world. He has installed it in concert halls, museums, and PAC's. From giant Festival stages out over the crowds, to the tops of skyscrapers, across canyons and valleys, to mountain peaks and ancient temples. Inside cathedrals, arenas, and sport stadiums, to historic monuments, historic sites and historic architecture. Across and into lakes, pools and beaches. In giant glass atriums, airport terminal and public plazas.
The EARTH HARP creates a symphonic musical experience that brings focus, awareness and honor to the places in which it is installed and played.
William continues to develop the sonic beauty of the instrument, always refining and trying new designs. William has designed and built over 50 different bridges and resonating chambers for the EARTH HARP. At present, he has 15 of his top designs to pick from when he goes to install an EARTH HARP project.
This is a real photo of the EARTH HARP Mountain installation. The strings went from the chamber on the stage all the way to the top of the mountain peak. The strings were tied into the mountain with rock climbing gear. The mountain peak had caves in the top. When the Earth Harp was being played the sound would resonate in the caves...The Mountain was creating music!
Installing the EARTH HARP is a sort of sport combining rigging, climbing, and tension creation.
We refer to it as "EARTH HARP-ING"
A typical concert hall / PAC installation takes only 3 hours!
A mountain or a skyscraper....... can take 3 days!
The EARTH HARP performs for NBC at Radio City Music Hall -
In this photo William Close plays the Radio City EARTH HARP using his specially developed technique of playing with violin rosin and gloves. His technique pulls beautiful symphonic tones from the giant strings. The pure acoustic tones are then amplified through standard microphones and put through the sound system. This is an acoustic instrument, no computers are involved in creating the symphonic sound!
William's early experiments led him to this unique way of playing the giant strings. They are played with violin rosin on the fingers. By running the fingers along the strings it creates a beautiful and unique sound. It sets up what is referred to as a "compression wave" type of vibration. It vibrates the material of the strings similar to running a finger around the edge of a wine glass. This is a different type of vibration than that of a plucked or bowed string. After exploring and developing this unique way of playing the strings, William invented a unique tuning method which uses floating bridges that mount to each string. With long enough strings, the musical range of the Earth Harp can go from the highest note on a violin to the lowest note on a bass!
SKY SCRAPER EARTH HARP PROJECT
WILLIAM & the EARTH HARP received the Guinness World record for "longest playable stringed instrument in the world" - This occurred at his first sky scraper installation in Singapore ! The strings of the EARTH HARP went 1000 ft from the plaza stage to the top of a beautiful new sky scraper building!