sound art & craft



The pompompots are a series of ensemble instruments. They are handmade analogue synthesisers with an interface of two conductive pompoms that are to be squeezed to make sound.

Inspired by instruments such as the Atari Punk Console and the Dirty Electronics Sudophone, the pompompots use the 555-timer integrated circuit as an oscillator to create a square wave. By touching the conductive pompoms, the performers body also becomes a component within the circuit. Playing and changing the pressure on the pompoms creates a varied electrical resistance within the circuit and so a change in the frequency of the oscillation. This can be heard in the pitch of the sound, sounding similar to a glissando.

A pompompot ensemble may include many performers, or many can perform one instrument, as long as there are people to bridge the gap between the two pompoms. A total of 16 pompompots have been made for performance-based settings.

The instrument can also be crafted within a workshop setting. Workshops using these instruments have included Making Noise at the Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham, and at the Yamaha Music School, Surrey. The pompompots have also been played at events at the Phoenix Arts Centre (Leicester), Boileroom (Guildford), Lights of Soho (London) and the Red Gallery (London).

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