Wednesday May 10, 2017

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is using a giant steel sheet to create new music

A Toronto Symphony Orchestra performance, which includes the use of a new instrument made out of a giant steel sheet.

A Toronto Symphony Orchestra performance, which includes the use of a new instrument made out of a giant steel sheet. (Jag Gundu)

Listen 5:55

Most people use metal sheets for industrial reasons. Toronto Symphony Orchestra composer Jordan Pal is using it to create music. 

For one of the TSO's latest pieces, Pal utilizes a 10-foot-tall piece of metal to form a "thunderous effect" that can be played in several different ways: shaking it, tapping it and using a cello bow, just to name a few.

"With all my pieces, I try to look for instruments or sounds that complement the sound world of the piece," Pal explains. "In this case, the music is very atmospheric, it's textural, and my immediate thought was that I needed something that had a certain timbral presence, which the steel sheet has."

Hit play on the video below to hear the steel sheet in action, and listen to today's segment as Pal takes us through his process of finding and using this unusual instrument.  

The TSO will be performing in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv this week. For more information, head over to the TSO's website.

— Produced by Ben Edwards