1920s NOISE MACHINES - Italian Futurist's - Russolo

'Ancient life was all silence. In the nineteenth century, with the invention of the machine, Noise was born. Today, Noise triumphs and reigns supreme over the sensibility of men.' -- Luigi Russolo

Luigi Russolo was a painter determined to open our ears to the noise of the modern age. His musical vision embraced 'the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jilting of a tram on its rails' – the symphonic blending of sounds that defined life in the urban metropolis of the early 1900s.

Russolo wrote his manifesto in 1913 entitled 'The Art of Noise,' a bold treatise declaiming the end of conventional Western music, and the dawning of a new music based on the grinding, exploding, crackling and buzzing of mechanical instruments.

'Every manifestation of life is accompanied by noise. Noise is therefore familiar to our ears and has the power to remind us immediately of life itself. Musical sound, a thing extraneous to life and independent of it... has become to our ears what a too familiar face is to our eyes' – Luigi Russolo

Luigi Russolo and his assistant Ugo Piatti built one of the first mechanical orchestras, the 'intonarumori' (noise machines), 27 different types of inters, each producing a unique sound in several folloies or 'families' of instruments, including 'howlers,' 'exploders,' 'crumplers,' 'hissers,' and 'scrapers.' In the 1920s, Russolo performed numerous concerts with these outrageous instruments emitting their startling sounds.

The 'Intonarumori' ('Noise Machines'),
built by Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo circa 1920s

~ Lifted from www.zakros.com & reprinted here without permission ~


Zia said...

Awesome post. I am learning a lot of background and history from your site. I have a particular interest in different categories of noise so enjoyed this post. It also induced me to find more photos: http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/machines/futurist/

Industrial::Music::Library said...

i realize it is 5 months after the fact, but i just wanted to thank you for your feedback. it's gratifying to know someone out there is reading my posts, at least now & then. and yeah, i love that obsolete.com site.

again, thanks for reading IML!

Ryan said...

very interesting stuff! for some reason i assumed the first real noiseheads were the avant garde classicals... this proves that wrong!