Aeolian Harp | Nobbys Lighthouse Residency 2023

A 19-string Aeolian Harp custom built to sound the wind at Nobbys Lighthouse in Newcastle, NSW

The Aeolian Harp is a concept as much as an instrument itself. Some Aeolian harps are made from strings wrapped around objects like trees, some are made of tubes or sails. There are many ways to sound the wind and the construction of temporary structures to do this are just as effective as the development of more formal structures. The Golden Harp is a physical instrument built to resonate with the strong wind gusts that are present at the Nobbys Lighthouse in the afternoons.

The development of the Golden Harp instrument came after spending an 8-hour day at the residency, which is located next to the lighthouse. This time allowed me to make some tests using a standard 4-string ukulele, assessing the most resonant wind tunnels at the lighthouse location and the times of day that the winds are the strongest. The Golden Harp was built from repurposed materials salvaged from an old bed including bed slates, and timber used for the posts on an Ikea frame. The shape of the instrument borrowed from the Kamel Ngoni design while adding a bit of a cross-bow inspired top bar so that strings could be installed in multiple directions to help facilitate the capture of wind gusts from multiple sides. The Golden Harp uses Zither tuning pins most commonly used on harps, and monofilament fishing line for the strings.

Residency Images

Aeolian Harp – Recordings

The Golden Aeolian Harp was built over the course of one-month while in residence on Monday’s at Nobby’s Lighthouse.  The following tracks were recorded live in situ at the lighthouse via a geophone and condenser microphone.