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Andy Cavatorta



The Star Harp | part of the Chalice Symphony for Stella Artois



The Star Harp is part of the Stella Artois Chalice Symphony, a quartet of instruments I designed for a performance with Cold War Kids. Each instrument uses Stella Artois's iconic chalice to make music in a different way — bowing them, striking them, using them as tuned resonators, or using their shapes to form vowels in vibrating columns of air.





Studio Process



In honor of the Stella Artois star, the Star Harp is a self-playing harp inspired by orreries, old mechanical models of the motions of the planets around The Sun. It uses the stem of the chalice as a bridge and the bowl as a resonator.

In honor of the Stella Artois star, the Star Harp is a self-playing harp inspired by orreries, old mechanical models of the motions of the planets around the Sun. It uses the stem of the chalice as a bridge and the bowl as a resonator.

It's inspired by a lot of things, from orreries to mathematical forms to clockwork mechanisms.



An Orrery
A Hyperboloid of Rotation
The First Paper Maquette


The final version is comprised of a unique hyperboloid harp, five orbiting mechanical arm, fifteen enormous gears, and a complex control system.



Building the Harp Resonator
Making the 72" Gear


The final version is comprised of a unique hyperboloid harp, five orbiting mechanical arm, fifteen enormous gears, and a complex control system.





We didn't have access to CAD or CNC tools for this part of the process. So everything was engineered and fabricated Leonardo DaVinci style — with logic and geometry. Here is Ranjit methodically fine-tuning the perfect alignment of the gears.





Here is our first full motion test, with all five arms, fifteen gears, fifteen motor control systems, and custom software.





And here is the whole Chalice Symphony documentary.