Design TED Fellows

TED Fellow helped Björk create 30-foot harp for Biophilia tour

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

Gravity-harp

Björk commissioned some truly unusual instruments for her Biophilia tour, which is headed to Paris next in 2013. The Icelandic songstress, who revealed her favorite TED Talks earlier this month, shares the stage with a sharpsicord, a gameleste and a musical Tesla coil. But perhaps the most dramatic instrument is a gravity harp, which stands 30-feet tall. Musical robot whiz Andy Cavatorta designed the harp, while TED Fellow James Patten and his studio created the electronic interface that makes it work.

The oversized instrument, which can be heard prominently on the song “Solstice,” features four robotic pendulums, each with an 11-string harp. The notes are programmed by computer, and the energy for the sound is created from the swinging motion. Watch Björk performing with the harp below.