La Oferta

December 8, 2023

Musical instrument inventor William Close plays “architectural music”

Los Angeles, Aug 18 (EFE).– William Close’s passion is to create unusual musical instruments that are in a way closer to sculptures or architectural projects, as in the case of his 290-meter-long harp (951 ft.) or his 1,000-string resonance chamber – a project he is still working on at his Los Angeles studio.

In 2014, officials from Guinness World Records confirmed that Close’s “Earth Harp” was the “longest stringed instrument in the world,” measuring nearly 292 meters (958 ft.), after the artist gave a concert in Singapore using a 36-story building as the instrument’s neck.

“I love creating sound. I love creating new ways to make sound, to make music. It’s an amazing experience to start working in the shop on an idea, build it and then get to a place where it sounds great,” Close said during an interview with EFE.

Close, 48, said he was “born in a taxi” in the streets of Manhattan, and that he studied music at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he created his first musical instrument in 1992, “made with a car’s exhaust pipe and strings.”

Since then, the artist has created more than 100 instruments.

Close said he studied “architecture, music, sound and sculpture,” and with that mix of skills he started creating “sculptures that make sound or music that was sculptural or architectural.”

To play his “Earth Harp,” Close usually connects 24 to 48 strings from the base of his instrument to the balcony of a concert hall or some other high point above the audience.

The artist said that he was inspired by sailing and boats to create the harp.

As a child, Close was often on sailboats, where he would “hear the sound of the wind, the sound of the waves hitting the boat, the rhythm, the tones of the wind going through the sails and the rigging.”

“Sailing was a very musical experience for me,” he said.

To play the “Earth Harp,” Close wears gloves and slides his fingers on the strings, without the need to use electric amplifiers.

“William Close and the Earth Harp Collective” is the name of the artist’s musical ensemble, made up of seven musicians.
In May 2017, Close and his collective rigged the strings of his harp to the top of the 52-story California Plaza building in downtown Los Angeles.

“We want to continue transforming well-known buildings into harps around the world and continue our skyscraper tour,” he said.