The truth is, I don't know if Danny ever invented his instrument, but this evening I heard a story on NPR about John Cage (1912-1992), who played an important role in avant-garde art and music. His most famous musical piece, perhaps, is 4'33," a piece where the musician sits at the piano not playing for four minutes and thirty-three seconds while the (initially puzzled) audience hears ambient sound.
A new way of producing electronic music might have satisfied him, but I think he was looking for something simpler and more concrete, a new way of creating vibrations. In place of a vibrating string, drumhead, or air within a column, why not ball bearings rolling in a pot or balloons of different size rubbing together... or... or... well, you think of something.
|Morris dancers - an inspiration for the miners of Lexicon?|
In the end, with the help of an ancient manuscript, some mathematics and some experimentation, Ivan succeeds in helping the hermit. He figures out the principle behind tuning stringed instrument. Ivan and his friend Fort also find a way to make an entire band of miners, dancing with bangles on their wrists and ankles, into a kind of group musical instrument. I guess in the end Ivan did invent a new musical instrument--and so did I. I just haven't tried to play it yet.