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Small Story Soundscape was a fun and interactive drop-in session for families at the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, visitors had the opportunity to explore and create variety of rudimentary sonic textures by utlising contact microphones on everyday household objects and toys. This was included in the Easter Holiday programme relating to the current temporary exhibition Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House.

Five activities were available to try:

Box Lid Microphone
A contact microphone attached to an upturned box lid, items such as marbles, spinning tops, brushes a stapler and sponge were available to experiment with on the lid surface. A delay pedal was provided so participants could manipulate the sonic textures in real-time.

Slinky Spring Ruler / Toy Maze Game
A small slinky spring was attached to a wooden ruler with a contact microphone fastened onto the surface. Participants were encouraged to stretch, wobble and gently hit the spring to create sci-fi inspired sound effects. Toy maze game required the user to navigate several ball bearings through a maze, a contact microphone picked up the tiny vibrations produced from the balls rolling and hitting into each other.

Matchbox Paperclip Microphone
An incredibly simple microphone/sound making circuit built from a matchbox, paperclip, screw, speaker a few wires and 9v battery. Visitors were instructed to pick up the screw attached to a crocodile clip and gently touch the paperclip nestled inside the matchbox to hear the results.

Coat Hanger Spring Instrument 
Most visitors commented this was the most musical sounding object; a hybrid instrument fashioned from a wooden coat hanger with lamp and doorstop springs attached to it. Participants were encouraged to pluck, strum or hit the springs.

Several live recordings were taken during the session:

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