The Auracle & Overtone Crown

The Auracle and Overtone Crown offer an opportunity for contemplation and visualization within a musical context. The viewer/listener wears the Overtone Crown (a wearable tuning fork instrument) while the forks are played with a bow by a performer. The Auracle is a life-size drawing that functions as a visualization of the sonic experience, and a mirror for the viewer/listener.

The Auracle by Shawn Feeney

The Auracle

Graphite and Conté charcoal on watercolor board, 30 x 40″

The title of this piece is a combination of the words “auricle” (the anatomical term for the outer ear) and “oracle” (a person or place which offers wisdom, hidden knowledge, or divine communication). The layout of tuning forks emanating from the head match the layout of forks on the Overtone Crown. The dotted circles are visualizations of sound emanating from the forks, throat, and heartbeat. Pairs of dashed lines from the ears indicate intentional, directed listening towards areas of resonance. The larger outlines of the ears represent an expansive sense of listening. A looping form connects the eyes and the ears, implying the connection between sight and sound.

The Overtone Crown by Shawn Feeney

The Overtone Crown

Modified bicycle helmet, tuning forks, polymer clay, epoxy, paint

The Overtone Crown is a wearable instrument. The listener wears the Crown as the player resonates the tuning forks with a bow. This creates a stereophonic field of shimmering overtones around the listener’s head. The listener is in the center of the musical experience, connected to the instrument.

In this example, the Overtone Crown uses an octave’s worth of Biosonics tuning forks (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C) in Pythagorean tuning. When bowed, the third harmonic of each fork resonates most strongly, so it sounds as a G major scale. The forks can easily be switched out for different scales and tunings.


Playing the Overtone Crown at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA. Photo by Robbie Sweeny.

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