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The Shapes of Sound: Catalog Essay by Hal Rammel
Musical Instruments and the Imagination
in the Midwest
An exhibiton of the work of musical instrument inventors from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota, curated by Hal Rammel, October - December, 1997

Woodland Pattern Book Center
Milwaukee, WI

Nadi Qamar
Nadi Qamar performs at the opening reception on valiha (tube guitar) and a variety of his reinvented likembe (on the pedestal in front of him). Nadi Qamar has performed with Charles Mingus, Andrew Hill, Stanley Cowell, and many others as well as releasing several solo recordings on these instruments for Folkways Records in the 1960s.


Bill Close (Chicago, IL)
Eric Leonardson (Chicago, IL)
David Lundahl (Beloit, WI)
Michael Meadows (Madison, WI)
Grant Strombeck (Chicago, IL)
Nadi Qamar (Green Bay, WI)
Don Meckley (Chicago, IL)
Sam Pappas (Levering, WI)
Hal Rammel (Cedarbrug, WI)
Douglas Ewart (Minneapolis, WI)
Miekal And (Dreamtime Village, WI)
Liz Ish (Dreamtime Village, WI)
Liazon Wakest (Dreamtime Village, WI)
Steven Barsotti. (Chicago, IL)

Sam Pappas
Horn Harp by Sam Pappas. Sam Pappas designed and built many string and percussion instruments in Chicago between 1979 and 1987 and led the ensemble Tumbling Strains with Michael Zerang and Don Meckley.

Douglas Ewart
Douglas Ewart demonstrates one of his Crepuscular percussion instruments from the exhibition built from a ski. Crepuscular instruments are derived from objects in the twilight of their original function. Other Crepuscular instruments by Douglas Ewart are built from boat paddles and wooden crutches.

Michael Meadows
Michael Meadows demonstrates the Dancing Flute, a self-playing instrument that creates subtle whistling sounds when it is gently rocked from side to side.

Don Meckley
Don Meckley combined a typewriter with an mbira to create the Typewriter Kalimba which he played in the improvising trio Liof Munimula with Michael Zerang and Don Scanlon in Chicago in the 1980s.

Douglas Ewart
Douglas Ewart performs on bamboo rainstick and didjeridu of his own design and construction during the opening reception.

Hal Rammel
Hal Rammel plays the amplified palette. In the background are his Devil's Fiddle (with bird head) and a percussion instrument inspired by the ancient Egyptian sistrum.

Eric Leonardson
Eric Leonardson performs on the Springboard, an amplified walker with a wide variety of springs and percussion devices attached.

Along the west wall stands David Lundahl's Upright Baby Grand and, on the shelf, various ceramic horns.

Along the south wall, Eric Leonardson's Springboard along with wind instruments and nail violins by Miekal And and Liz Was are on view with Michael Meadow's Dancing Flute in the foreground.

Along the east wall three string instruments by Bill Close are installed: the circular Vocal Chords, the long-string instrument called Echoes of the Tree of Life, and, to the right, and Elliptical Harp fashioned after the hurdy-gurdy.

This exhibiton was made possible through the generous support of Anne Kingsbury and Karl Gartung who opened the doors of Woodland Pattern Book Center to me and to the concept of this exhibition. The Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago assisted in the production of a compact disc of musical examples of the instruments included in this show which was installed at a listening station in the gallery. The exhibition was made possible with private donations and, in part, with funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Milwaukee County and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

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