'Instrument inventor' Kenchington unveils multi-coloured recycled pipe organ

Wind pipes Kenchington's previous works include a pedal-powered hurdy-gurdy and a brass band powered by tractor inner-tubes.

From a 15th century gothic church, tucked down an Edinburgh side street, floats the low whistle of a pipe organ.

The sound is a familiar one - but this is a pipe organ like no other.

It is made from more than 100 recycled organ pipes, gathered from scrap yards and eBay.

Powered by six large bellows, it takes at least six musicians to play it.

Start Quote

Plumbers love it. Organ people aren't sure at first...then they get into it”

End Quote Sarah Kenchington Artist

It was made by "inventor of instruments" Sarah Kenchington for this year's Edinburgh Art Festival.

Wind pipes Wind Pipes for Edinburgh is made from more than 100 recycled pipes

Her previous works include a pedal-powered hurdy-gurdy, a giant rotating kalimba and her own brass band, powered by tractor inner-tubes.

Wind Pipes for Edinburgh, at Trinity Apse, is her biggest and most ambitious instrument yet.

She came up with the idea after she found some old church organ pipes in a junk shop.

"I wanted to separate all the pipes back out so that people hear them individually," she said.

"If you take it outside, it sounds like a cheap recorder, but in here the sound comes alive."

She says she designed the pipe organ as something anyone can use - even if they do not know how to play a conventional instrument.

"They find it just as easy as musicians. I made it so that people who play music are scuppered.

"It's a playground really. Plumbers love it! Organ people aren't sure about it at first...then they get into it."

'Musical playground'

Five composers - Daniel Padden, Colin Broom, Muris, Brian Irvine, and Eagleowl and Friends - have been asked to write pieces for the instrument.

Their genres ranging from classical pieces to improvisation.

Wind pipes Each pipe has been carefully tuned and colour-coded to make it easier for musicians to play

Composer Colin Broom said: "It's very different to writing for piano, where you know how the instrument works. It's much more unpredictable.

"The only way to do it was with lots of experimentation - and lots of rewriting.

"The notes are all colour-coded, so the musicians have been colouring in their music to make it easier to follow.

"We have to have a five-minute colouring in session before we start."

As well as the official concerts, members of the public will be able to have a go on the wind pipes throughout the week.

On Sundays throughout August, there will be workshops for children and young people. These are free, but must be booked in advance.

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