Instruments for sound effects, Southern California, 1931

 

 

 

Instruments for sound effects, Southern California, 1931

 

Love this 1931 photo ex USC Digital Libraries
ref: Instruments for sound effects, Southern California, 1931

What an awesome room full of sound generators!
FWIW I found the photo using googles new dataset search engine

 

 

Ever since finding it I keep revisiting this photo, trying to work out what each object does…
At a first glance you almost don’t notice the person in the back area of the studio:

 

He appears to be playing a thunder sheet and is surrounded by large gong-like objects

 

 

But that front table – what a collection!

 

 

To the right of the performer there is a table of bells, and further right a set of tone bars or tubular bells?

 

 

What are those circular biscuit tins mounted on a pole?

 

 

On the left it seems there is a table of metal pipes & beams… but what is that giant S for? I wonder if it is resonating chamber of some kind? It makes me think of Luigi Russolo Art of Noise – see Manifesto here and more info on first of his Intonarumori, the Scoppiatore

 

 

Of course long before foley artists for cinema existed, people had been creating sound effects for theatre and radio… check this theatre set up:

Some more info and examples of radio sound effects is here

 

 

Feel free to comment if you can identify any of the objects in the photo?

 

 

 

 

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