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Dyson Is Now Using Its Products To Play Music. Yes Really


The Cadogan Hall is set to host the premiere of a new kind of orchestral piece. The piece, by David Roche, will be performed by the Orion Orchestra, and accompanied by the latest Dyson technologies; including the Dyson Digital Motor, the V8 Cord-free vacuum and the Dyson Pure Cool link fan. Developed with more than fifty Dyson engineers, it will also harness the sounds of entirely new instruments.

The concept and brief emerged after a conversation between Sir James Dyson and the Orion Orchestra’s Artistic Director, Toby Purser. Purser wanted to do something entirely new: combine the sounds of machines with a full orchestra in a way that captures the science and engineering behind sounds we are familiar with. Unlike Malcolm Arnold’s, A Grand, Grand Overtureit was not intended to be a parody of orchestra – he wanted to do something new, inventive and rooted in engineering.

Toby Purser said, “the initial concept was two Dyson Supersonics performing a duet accompanied by an orchestra, but thanks to the astounding knowledge and enthusiasm of Dyson engineers, it rapidly evolved into a piece that combines science and sound – fusing classical music and Dyson technologies together.”

The piece, Acoustical Anatomy, was commissioned following the Orion Orchestra’s biennial Young Composer’s Competition.

Acoustical Anatomy

David Roche is a 27-year-old British-Welsh composer, guitarist and conductor living in Cambridge. He has written music for a wide range of musicians and ensembles, including BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Graduate Orchestra, BBC Singers, Britten Sinfonia, The Assembly Project, and Psappha. David competed with sixteen other composers to get the commission.

David worked with Dyson engineers to understand and analyse the sounds of Dyson machines. They developed ways to manipulate and control the sounds to make them an unusual but integral part of the orchestra. The name Acoustical Anatomy is a term Senior Vibration and Noise Engineer, Ben Mercer, used when referring to the analyses of motor sounds within our products.

Roche uses six Dyson digital motors and controls the pitch and tone of each, achieving musical tones. He also uses V8 cordless vacuum bins with ball bearings to create an intense noise and plays the airflow from Dyson Cool Link fans off the chimes to create sounds.

David Roche, “At its core, Acoustical Anatomy is about change. This is a common ground between so many of us – not just musicians and engineers.”

Sound at Dyson

Dyson has an in-house team of 43 acoustic engineers and 5 specially designed semi-anechoic chambers across its development centres in Malmesbury, Singapore and Malaysia. Dyson acousticians do not just study the volume of sound, but its tonality and pitch to ensure that Dyson machines are pleasing to the ear. David spent time with the team to understand the science behind manipulating such sounds. We can analyse sounds as quiet as a whisper, right up to 130 dB – equivalent to the roar of a jet engine.

 

Music Machines

To complement the orchestra and Dyson machines, Dyson engineers were challenged to develop new instruments.  The brief: Create an instrument inspired by Dyson technology which is playable and expressive.

Dyson Engineers have spent over 600 hours of their own time creating music machines within the walls of Dyson’s Research Design and Development Centre in Malmesbury. David Roche incorporated Cyclophone and Amp-chord to feature in Acoustical Anatomy. All of the Music Machines will be on display at the Cadogan Hall on the night of the performance.

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