Introducing the Sympath: a new electro-acoustic string resonator

Introducing the Sympath: a new electro-acoustic string resonator

October 21, 2023

2:00 – 5:30pm

In this free workshop-performance, we introduce the Sympath, a new string resonator and instrument we are developing in the summer and autumn of 2023. The Sympath mixes the functions of a few instruments: strings are activated by transducers to vibrate sympathetically like those on a sarangi, viola d’amore, or halldorophone. These vibrations resonate in a wooden chamber similar to those of zithers, dulcimers, and acoustic lap steel guitars, and are then converted back into electronic signal by a piezo pickup. The Sympath is designed to be flexible and versatile, and can be used as an acoustic or electro-acoustic resonator, a characterful output for synthesizers, a tabletop string instrument, and in feedback performance.

We look forward to discussing the Sympath’s design and its many inspirations. We will also give tips for how to construct one at home or in a makerspace, including different shortcuts, modifications, and extra features that can be added. There will be time for hands-on demonstrations of our prototypes as well as performances by the designers and builders of the instrument (Dave Riedstra, Gayle Young, and Mitch Renaud). This event will be of interest to adventurous studio producers and composers, DIY enthusiasts, and lovers of unusual instruments and ways of working with sound.

This event takes place near the end of the main design and prototyping phase. Designs and tutorials for the Sympath will be made freely available online in the months following the event. Stay tuned for ongoing developments!

This event and the overall project are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.