The halldorophone: The ongoing innovation of a cello-like drone instrument

Úlfarsson, Halldór

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper reports upon the process of innovation of a new instrument. The author has developed the halldorophone a new electroacoustic string instrument which makes use of positive feedback as a key element in generating its sound. An important objective of the project has been to encourage its use by practicing musicians. After ten years of use, the halldorophone has a growing repertoire of works by prominent composers and performers. During the development of the instrument, the question has been asked: “why do musicians want to use this instrument?” and answers have been found through on-going (informal) user studies and feedback. As the project progresses, a picture emerges of what qualities have led to a culture of acceptance and use around this new instrument. This paper describes the halldorophone and presents the rationale for its major design features and ergonomic choices, as they relate to the overarching objective of nurturing a culture of use and connects it to wider trends.