I have been asked to create instruments for quite a few productions. These are some of my latest,
for a film score project for the Centre for Advanced Studies at the Sage Gateshead, music for a promenade performance of The Tempest for Drama in the Dale at Harehope Quarry, Weardale and for a performance of Beowulf for the Forge .
Everything here is made from readily available wood (decking or similar) and a whole range of things from pound (or euro or dollar) shops.

The Tempest

These instruments were created for an outdoor performance of the Tempest at Harehope Quarry, Weardale, Durham.

The Garden Harp

A fully playable 21 string outdoor harp, tuned with eye-bolts (tuning pins slip in wood exposed to the wet) and sharping levers
Listen to the audio

A Weatherproof 'Cello

An old satellite pole gave me the right angle for fingerboard to body, strengthened with an iron bar, two salad bowls provide the body, with an additional larger one as a resonator. Eye bolts for tuning pins, an old piece of tubing from a trumpet for the bridge,

two lengths of curtainrod to extend the width of the fingerboard, some cheap strings and while a Stradivarious it is not, the sound is perfectly usable.
Minuetto 1 from J.S.Bach, 'Cello Suite No.1

How to Make a Pneumatic Trumpet

Act 3, Scene 3 (the banquet scene) of the Tempest requires 'solemn, strange, music' for which I constructed a pneumatic trumpet, or more correctly three home-made pipe organ trumpet reeds connected to three old brass instrument bells powered by compressed CO2. This is how they looked:-

and what they sounded like in situ

And the components

Metal String Instruments

Constructed for a film score project with the Weekend Music School at the Sage Gateshead, these are collection of different pitched single string or double string bowed instruments made from metal salad bowls or baking tins based on the Serbian gusla.

A soprano

A two string instrument and an alto

And a special one.


A rebec and a lyre constructed to provide music as close as possible to that which Beowulf might have known, for a performance for The Forge in County Durham. Both used bowls as the basis of their construction, an old wooden fruit bowl for the lyre, sanded down, along with some old chair legs for the arms, and a woven wooden salad bowl for the rebec.

Audio of the 'cellist Alexander Somov playing Bulgarian folk music on the rebec