Residents' login

Project blog

Posted on Mon 20 Apr 2020

One note at a time.

The birth of The Isolation Melody and how to get involved.

The Isolation Melody

Posted by

Dan Pollard

Dan Pollard

Dan is a composer, musical instrument builder and sound artist, currently using cymatics to explore underwater noise pollution and its impact on marine life.


The Isolation Melody

The Isolation Melody

An international musical collaboration between people and their objects during the COVID-19 Pandemic. One note at a time.

With the world in various stages of lockdown I've been trying to find a way of creating something which engages both how isolated and yet connected we all are in the current situation. Though we are locked away and unable to interact in many of the ways we are used to we are universally bonded by the pandemic so as COVID-19 bounces around the planet making us all dance to its tune, I thought we should make one of our own. 

Rim of glass bowl, Bristol UK, Dan Pollard

I spend a lot of time finding music in non-musical objects, usually these objects can only produce a single note at a time, which is about as isolated as a piece of music can be, so to create any sort of melody I either need to manipulate the recording or find multiple objects to produce varying pitches. I was thinking about making some music using only the notes available to me from objects in and around my home but then I imagined all the notes in all the other places where people are currently locked down. I wondered what it would sound like if every note of a melody came from a different part of the world, chosen by a different person and produced by a physical object in their location. Music is what happens before, after and around each individual note, every single one exists on its own but relies on its neighbours to give it context. Isolated, yet connected.

Coffee Pourer, Tokyo Japan, Sam King

The composition of The Isolation Melody is determined by the individuals involved and the objects they can find to record in their separate locations. It is building gradually, every day or two a new note is added. The slow progress of the short composition matching our strange new relationship with time as evenings and weekends become less well defined. I have no idea how long it will last, that too is determined by our constantly shifting and uncertain future.

Enamel Bowl, Cologne Germany, Tobias Schmidt

You can see and hear it developing here:

I currently have notes from the UK, Japan, Germany and Switzerland and the melody will soon be heading to Norway, Wales and Malaysia, I'd love to get as many people, locations and objects involved as possible so if you would like to be a part of it please do get in touch at: