Spark! From Tubes to Chips



Spark! From Tubes to Chips explores the history of electronic percussion. Beginning with early percussion instruments that used electricity, to the triggers, modules, and computers of today, this exhibit will introduce our visitors to the many ways electronic percussion instruments provide percussionists with infinite sound possibilities, vastly expanding the ways they compose and perform music.

What You Will Learn:

  • Electricity has changed the ways that rhythm and sound are created.
  • Percussionists have adapted new technology in order to create new sounds.
  • Percussionists use electronic percussion instruments in both practice and performance.

Percussion is, at its heart, movement – moving energy by hitting an object, producing vibrations we hear as sound. To do this, musicians have to move and play in certain ways.

This is still true when we add electricity to percussion instruments! Instead of a hand, stick, pick, or mallet being the way of moving this energy, energy can be controlled by vacuum tubes, circuits, microchips, and software, too. Along with changing the physical materials of the instrument, now musicians can change and invent sounds using different electronics.