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The history of LUNASON 

In 1995, Domenico and his father Nicola Melchiorre started to build accessories and smaller percussion instruments such as wooden blocks or triangles together. 


When Domenico started studying music in Freiburg im Breisgau after this first phase of discovery, he noticed that contemporary composers were always looking for new sounds and sound spectra and that electronic music, compared to instrumental music, was moving in other dimensions in terms of sound.


This gave rise to the idea of developing new instruments to expand the tonal and creative possibilities of contemporary instrumental music.  

Nicophone The history of LUNASON began with the Nicophone. Domenico and Nicola Melchiorre worked on this instrument for many years. They developed various lamella systems on metal square tubes and investigated the relationship between material, tube wall thickness and various tube wall dimensions. Other important factors were the suspension mechanics and the surface treatment of the metals. In this way, they found a series of interrelationships which, optimally coordinated with each other, led to the desired tonal results and ultimately to the various models of the Nicophone.


Progressive instruments   Even during this process, research in other areas was advanced. The aim was to apply the acquired expertise in other areas to develop a progressive new instrumentarium in the field of percussion and chordophones in different frequency registers.   The Kawaphone was developed from the basic concept of the Nicophone. The spectral sounds of the Nicophones were to be organised in a scale. Thus the Kawaplates were developed. Metal plates with a lamella system that gives the individual plates a specific overtone spectrum. Since the incisions of these plates could not be made with a usual band saw, a laser cutting machine was therefore used for the first time. For this, the panels had to be drawn in 3D by an engineer. In a further step, the panels were processed with a waterjet cutter. The kawa plates sound very rich in overtones and are often perceived as electronically generated, like the sounds of the nicophones.

Spectral Instruments   The first of our three pioneering directions to create a progressive instrumentarium was thus realised in a first phase in two types of instruments. In the instrument family of the Nicophone and the Kawaphone.   Essentially, this direction was about developing spectral instruments. Instruments that, among other things, simultaneously release different frequencies in the range of microtonality when the instrument is made to vibrate by striking, bowing or other techniques. By incorporating our lamella systems, we have succeeded in setting a broad spectrum of harmonics in vibration.   When the musician plays a lamella, it sounds the strongest and forms a kind of foundation. This lamella, like the plate of a vibraphone, has a spectrum of overtones. Since the slats of both the nicophones and the kawa plates are connected to each other, the other slats resonate in the background. Since each lamella also brings with it an overtone spectrum, an extremely high amount of overtones is produced when playing these instruments. There is always a spectrum sounding and therefore we speak of spectral instruments. The instruments are made of hard metal, but the sound effect is soft and brilliant due to the many overtone spectra.

Chordophone   Creating instruments that produce a novel, progressive, tonal overtone spectrum compared to existing traditional musical instruments had become one of our credos. Since metal uniquely supports the vibrations of overtone spectra, we devoted ourselves even more intensively to the processing of metals. Another instrument on which this supporting element can be particularly perceived, among other things, in the production of harmonics, is the bass desmophone.   After the development of the spectral-sounding idiophones, we focused on the development of chordophones.   The Bassdesmophone was the first instrument in this series. Due to the metallic body, which is made of a special, very thinly processed alloy, the instrument sounds very rich and intense. The vibration of the two strings is transmitted to the body via a bridge. Since these body surfaces can vibrate quite freely, the bass desmophone resonates intensively and for a long time.

Instrumental Corpus made of precious metal   From the idea of developing new types of instrumental corpuses made of metal and thereby determining the sound of an instrument, a whole series of instruments was created. The Desmophone, the Bass Drum, the Double Bass, the Zheng and the Metaphone.   The desmophone is one register above the bass desmophone.   The bass drum produces a unique overall sound due to the large metal surfaces of the body. The reason for this is the mixture of head and corpus sound. The drum head and the resonating head also set the metal surfaces in resonance through their vibration.   The double bass can be played in the same way as a traditional wooden double bass. The fingerboard is made and adapted by a double bass maker. However, the sound of this double bass is richer in overtones and resonates a little longer. Harmonics in particular are uniquely supported by this double bass. The sonic description of musicians who have played on it is: cathedral, brilliant, spatial, full, mystical, electronic.   The Zheng by LUNASON has 25 strings and ranges in frequency from C2 to F5. It sounds fine and delicate. The first 1.5 seconds of the sounds after plucking are special. The sounds are very brilliant and rich in overtones. The thin metal of the body absorbs the vibrations via the small aluminium bars and transfers them to the large surfaces. In this way, they are amplified and radiated spatially.   The Metaphone is a modular instrument. It has 13 holders on the upper horizontal surface, to which smaller instruments can be attached directly or by means of adapters, or, as in the basic version, sets of plates. If you play the attached vibration generators, their sounds are transferred to the metal corpus and thus become more spatial and spectral.   Since the corpuses of the instruments mentioned above are made of metal, it is always possible to play them directly. The resulting sounds are basically very colourful, they often seem electronically generated and give the instruments further versatile components.

Expanded possibilities   Another branch of LUNASON is to expand the tonal and playing possibilities of existing instruments through developments.   This is the case, for example, with the Gaiabells and the Pyrablocks. Gaiabells are "bells" and pyrablocks are "blocks", but with additional possibilities. In the case of Gaiabells, the material of the Bells is quite thin and the surface is specially refined by a technical process. This means that the bells can be played with very soft mallets and can therefore be played very quietly. In the concert hall, the Gaiabells sound like bells from afar when played softly.     On the pyrablocks, the black upper striking plate is made of a processed, very hard wood mixture. Its truncated pyramidal shape enables the player to gradually raise or lower the frequency (glissando). Until now, this was not possible with wooden percussion instruments without losing sound volume.

Variety   When the vision of creating a new type of instrument with LUNASON was born, different vibration generation processes had to be investigated. Since only one type of vibration generation, for example beating with a mallet, would not provide enough variety. Therefore, not only percussive methods, but many different vibration-generating techniques were focused on. Plucking strings, bowing with bows, with hands, with various materials, beating with mallets, hands, rubbing and much more.   One of the resulting instruments was the spica. A kind of metallic guiro that produces a very bright and iridescent overtone spectrum when rubbed with a stick or played with mallets.

Interferences   When Iannis Xenakis describes the instrument Sixxen (from Six-Xenakis) required for it in his score of Pléiades (1978), he leaves many parameters open. For example, he demands that it be metal sounds. Since Xenakis was also an architect and therefore would very well have had the ability to precisely describe the construction of the instrument, LUNASON assumes that he deliberately did not do so. Therefore, without violating the given parameters of Xenakis, we have developed a new version of this instrument. It is a version that is quite different from many existing sixxes on the market. LUNASON's sixxes are made of aluminium, relatively small, light, sound very soft and resonate for over 15 seconds. This amplifies the intensely perceived interference of the sounds.

Through intensive research and years of development, LUNASON instruments have become a progressive sounding world of the modern music scene. 

Today, the progressive instruments are used worldwide by musicians, orchestras, ensembles, music academies and composers for their musical projects. Partly as a separate sound world and often also in combination with traditional musical instruments.

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