tumbala · instrument design

The information provided by the client at the start of the project contained a very substantial working base. Mostly consisting of images and models of prototypes. Both small scale (to represent the sculptures as instruments), using drawing dummies, which handled wire and tube machines of smaller dimensions. As in real scale, using tubes in their final dimensions, for studies of tuning and rhythmic intensity. These studies would become the sonoplastic root of the Tumbala. It is therefore an original idea, for the aesthetic and sonic formalization of the sculptural instruments. This forced, in the approach of the machines’ drawings, a constant production and demultiplication of solutions, for each one of the four sculptures. Tumbophone, Cochophone and Caracolophone, were some of the nicknames or names that identified each of the Tumbala machines. Through this nomenclature, they acquired a personality that helped define their final form little by little. Also in an early stage of the 3D models, Engineering Consulting was used. This clarified the paths that could be followed to ensure the feasibility of these three-dimensional models.

THE PRODUCTION OF THE EQUIPMENT: TUMBALA MACHINE DESIGN – Before proceeding to a production phase, it was necessary to conduct a study of movements, on the interaction of musicians with the instruments. It had to be thought, the relationship of the movements executed in the choreographic maneuvers. Considering that the movement of the Tumbala instruments would often be performed simultaneously with the performance of the musical instrument. We also analyzed the maneuvers performed by the musicians with the costumes on, inside the models, making use of 3D models and full-scale synthesized prototypes, for the intended tests. Only after securing some fallback solutions, did we proceed to the production of the devices. Two work teams were involved in the manufacturing of the first Tumbala machines. One in Alcochete (Leonel e Bicho) and another one in Montemor-o-novo (Oficinas do Convento). The latter under the direction of Tiago Fróis. This dual model of execution was chosen to differentiate some of the specialties in labor and in obtaining the raw material. In the production we valued the use of pieces of other common objects, through the reuse and adaptation of these. The use of welded and twisted tubular iron was essentially used for the construction of the chassis that supported the remaining machine components. The first results exceeded expectations and both production teams showed great interest during the development of the work. Implementing innovative ideas to optimize the final shape of the Tumbala carving instruments.

design: Carlos Coutinho

concept and design: Paulo Morais

client: Tumbala

date: 2010