SoundFort - Paweł Romańczuk International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

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This presentation, created at the invitation of the Warsaw Autumn Festival, consists of two parts: a gallery of mechanical sound objects by Paweł Romańczuk, designed with the spaces of the Sokolnicki Fort in mind, and a performative part executed by Paweł Romańczuk and Tomek Szczepaniak on their own versions of the Cristal Baschet instrument, constructed in the Small Instruments studio. This concert part involves the meeting of two sound environments: instruments made of metal and glass as well as Hans van Koolwijk’s Bambuso Sonoro pipe set.


The sound of water is one of our first aural experiences; we perceive it with both the outer and inner ear. Water itself, however, is rarely part of any musical instrument, and the “sound of water” is still impossible or nearly impossible to imitate.


The friction of stone against stone is seemingly a sound without much musical potential. However, this “ordinary” noise, depending on the size of the stone slab and the type of stone, can sound different, and the mechanical medium allows us to discover the microdetails of individual movements.


Amplification allows to capture very quiet sounds that go unnoticed on a daily basis. The metal strips of a clockwork’s springs are a source of very dynamic bass explosions, providing undefined acoustic decay, depending on the movement of the bent metal.


Metal is likely the newest (although now almost a century old) material in the domain of musical instruments. A sheet of thin steel is capable of being triggered by the vibration of metal bars, which can be reminiscent of the sonic experience of striking longer sections of metal railings, often present in the reverberant staircases in the apartment blocks of the late Communist era.


Yakity-Yak was the original name of a toy invented in 1949 by Eddie Goldfarb in the United States, who was inspired was a completely anti-toy box for storing dentures. The Yakity-Yak advertisement read as follows: “Amazing! Look! They Walk! They Talk! They’re Alive!”

The object was originally built to perform Steve Reich’s Clapping Music in an area appropriate for Small Instruments.


is the original name of a wooden bell used since centuries in the Buddhist tradition, in areas of East Asia. The instrument has been successfully adopted in European orchestral and jazz music. Thanks to their mechanical operation, a set of handmade temple blocks allows to perform compound rhythmic structures.

The Asian

Object commissioned by Erika Linn, curator of the exhibition of works by Small Instruments in Taiwan in 2022. It was inspired by the expressive articulation often used when playing stringed, plucked folk instruments in Asia, such as the Japanese biwa lute. The powerful plectron attack is combined with numerous, violent glissandi.


A mechanism exploiting the sound potential of vibrating, amplified metal rods. A predominantly recycled object: its motor comes from an old tape recorder, the construction based on parts of the cult Meccano toys, and the sound source itself is a bent metal shelf from an old fridge.


Count all the strings in the zither. That’s all the time you need to get to grips with the sound offering of an object based on the original German zither, developed at the turn of the 20th century as a need to adapt the multi-stringed (and huge) harp to domestic use.

The chordal version presented here does not respect the original tuning intended by the manufacturer.

Paweł Romańczuk