Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Laser Harp

A laser harp is an electronic musical instrument consisting of several laser beams to be blocked, in analogy with the plucking of the strings of a harp, in order to produce sounds. It is famously used by Jean Michel Jarre in his concerts.

The term "laser harp" and the first working laser harp were invented and made by Geoffrey Rose in 1976.The first model was constructed with a matrix of 5 X 5 laser beams in an octagonal frame. It has subsequently been used in a number of different designs, including a MIDI version invented by Philippe Guerre, and a recent one created by Yan Terrien. They have also been used in public art installations such as those created by Jen Lewin on display at Lincoln Center in 2000 and Burning Man 2005.

A laser harp is generally built using a single laser, splitting its beam into an array of beams in parallel or fan arrangement. When a beam is blocked, this is detected by a photodiode or photoresistor, which is connected to electronics activating the relevant note. Playing the actual sound is usually handled by connecting the laser harp to a synthesizer, sampler or computer.

Here is a video of Jean Michel Jarre performing his Rendez Vous 2 on a laser harp. And if you want to build one yourself - here is a guide. And watch your eyes ;)


Laser Hair Removal Chicago said...

A giant harp, with laser beams for strings, will be a centerpiece of the Luzboa Arts Festival in Lisbon beginning November 8, 2008 and running through January 11, 2009. The city will also be adorned with more than 40 displays of festive lights from all over Euope. The festival is a street project intended to bring people out of their homes and hotels to come view the lights. The Laser Harp produces music as well as light. Artwork on display throughout the festival wil be lit with environmentally friendly LED lights. Festivities will run from dusk to midnight, with longer hours possible on holiday nights.

LaserWizard said...

Hi this is Tim Walsh at Laser Spectacles, Inc. - that's me playing the laser harp in your picture above. How about some credit for my performance?

Mark said...

Jean Michelle Jarre is such a great musician. I think he was one of the first musicians (next to Peter Gabriel) who mixed electronic-western music with sounds from the third world countries. I heard he will be singing in the next generic viagra conference in France.

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sophia smith said...

nice video of laser..It looking so beautiful..there are varieties of laser in different designs..
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