Vibration, and therefore sound, is a constant part of our lives. As a constant presence it affects us in more ways than we may notice. Listening can aid us in deciphering the effect these vibrations have, leading to a deeper awareness of our external surroundings and internal emotions that we have connected with sound.
Emotional responses to sound are fundamental aspects of human existence. Our desire to search for new sounds and indeed tame them has resonated throughout human history. Even to this day new fascinating tools and methods are being developed to aid and enhance our listening, especially in the field of musical instruments.
The role of instrument building is to observe and interrogate vibrations; materials; movement; interactivity; sonic exploration; aesthetics; and performativity; taming them within a vessel, the instrument, which balances these different aspects to promote listening.
Listening is far from a passive process. By looking at the ways in which we interact with listening processes, and its potential uses, we can refine and change our ways of listening both consciously and unconsciously. These various listening states can be enhanced and initiated though objects, actions, and our other senses.
Whether it be evolutionary, cultural, or social, there is a human tendency to create and re-appropriate sonic tools in order to interrogate and return to sounds for new emotive responses.
As human beings, we have the capability to focus our attention on sound, and an importance is placed on the sounds we gain emotional responses from. Just like our ancestors that inhabited caves and constructed stone circles for sonic purposes, we fetishise the objects and people that can create and manipulate sound, and imbue them with mystery. The search for sonic possibilities in our environment thus would appear to be part of human nature.
When humans hear and feel music they respond in a particular way, often very strongly, but not every human responds to all sounds in the same way. Because of this, instrument building has the potential to attract particular kinds of people wishing to express their personal interests through instrument designs.
It will always be necessary to create new musical instruments. New acoustic instruments also explore our physical relationship to sound, and even the construction of just one new instrument allows a whole new depth of exploration.