Toorcamp: Kelp Horns

[Ari] and Jake from Noisebridge were out on the beach at Toorcamp when they saw some giant kelp and had an idea. Using a pocketknife, [Ari] cut a mouthpiece into the stem and cut the bulb in half. After some practice, they figured out how to play the kelp horn. [Jimmie], shown here, was able to get a pretty good range of notes out of it by playing it like a bugle. [Neil] tried to cut holes into the stem to play it like a flute.

The horns were fairly loud, so they attracted a few people who wanted to make their own. Once the group had six or seven horns playing various tones, they headed to the camp to show off their new instruments. They weren’t quite in tune, and didn’t taste very good, but they did make a variety of odd sounding tones. Leave it to a camp of hackers to make musical instruments of whatever they find washed up on shore.

[Photo maltman23]

19 thoughts on “Toorcamp: Kelp Horns

  1. Man, that lead photo looks so wrong. As is getting in a beotch about the Arduino, when there is not an arduino in sight. Yea I feed potential trolls. As for the topic matter just like kids with discarded paper tubes, but no reason to grow up completely that I’m aware of. :) Without sound clips it’s hard to judge success. An unpleasant taste could mean very few will become masters of the impromptu musical instrument.

  2. a key component of the story was missing. imagine, if you will, a roving band of 5-6 of these yahoos (meant in the best sense of the term), playing vuvuzela-esque “music” at 6 am after everyone has just settled down to sleep from the giant pounding thunderdome of dubstep that had been running until 3am or so, waking stragglers up, and presenting them with an ultimatum: a sign that says “WILL STOP PLAYING FOR BACON”

  3. Kelp leaves make really delicious nutritious crunchy chips if they are deep fried on the beach at high temperature in a wok or similar. But make sure to bring your used cooking oil out – and off the beach, with you.

  4. In 1965 I was on a two week camping trip with my parents traveling up the Mendocino coast of California. On a couple stops at various beaches we picked up a few pieces of kelp with the bulbs, Two of them made excellent horns as described. We dried them both out, and when in a campground one was used as a lunch call and the other as a “get your butt back to camp now” call. They each had a very distinctive note difference and tonal quality.

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