Aeolian Kite


For the last couple of years a colleague of mine Ken Gregory has been researching kites as sound instruments. What he has produced is an Aeolian Kite, the kite functions similarly to an Aeolian Harp or wind harp. Rather than having stretched strings vibrated by the blowing wind to produce sound, the sound is produced by amplifying the vibrating tow line that is attached to the kite while it is in flight.

“the tow line vibrates at different frequencies induced by the various constantly changing wind intensities which can be heard as whistles or hums at very low levels. The basic idea is to experiment with acoustic and electronic amplification systems so that these sounds can be heard by the naked ear.”

Audio from the kite can be found on his site

The Articule Gallery in Montréal featured an installation by Ken entitled “wind coil sound flow”  for Elektra festival held every spring in Montréal. In this installation Ken created an analogue of his Aeolian kite and its process; images can be found on his blog

“For his exhibition at articule, Ken Gregory will build an acoustic electro-mechanical system that poetically reproduces the processes involved in operating an Aeolian Kite Instrument in the field, a wind instrument based on an Aeolian harp. The kite’s towline is acoustically coupled to a resonator. The resonator amplifies the wind induced vibrations of the towline and resonates harmonically. A large one stringed guitar played by the wind. Receiving the audio recordings from this outdoor instrument, his electro-magnetic sculpture in the gallery not only becomes a poetic and kinetic representation of a sound speaker, but also mirrors the different components of the Aeolian Kite Instrument used to capture the wind’s voice.”

I have not seen the installation but I can imagine that it is a delight to see and hear.

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