Entries in ice sculpture (1)


Frozen Melodies: At Norway Festival, Ice Music Celebrates Winter

ABC News(GEILO, Norway) -- They are instruments that make the sound of winter; the melodies of a frozen orchestra. Under a full winter moon, Norwegian musicians celebrated the season with instruments made of ice.

Everything about the annual Ice Music Festival in the mountain town of Geilo, Norway is up to Mother Nature.

"For most people in winter, [the snow and ice] has no value, it's just something you want to get rid of," festival creator Terje Isungset said at this year's festival in early February. "But I find a sound, when I find a sound, I try to work with it and create music with it."

Learning to make music from ice has been a journey of discovery for Isungset. It began when he was commissioned to perform at a festival in Norway in 2000 at a frozen waterfall.

"I didn't know what to do, but I had one idea, I wanted to make an ice harp," he said. "I discovered many things that I never imagined, sounds that I never imagined."

The ice is harvested from a frozen lake 25 miles north of Geilo. Ice cutters search for the clearest, cleanest ice. Using chain saws, they cut huge 600-pound blocks. Ice cutter Evan Rugg said they've seen some of the clearest ice ever this year. They've learned that the best sound comes from ice with no bubbles or cracks.

For this year's festival, ice sculptor Bill Covitz -- a Connecticut business owner whose company Ice Matters creates sculptures for weddings and events in the United States -- fashioned two ice horns, an ice guitar and a five-string harp. But the most beautiful sounds, he says, come from the icicle-like chimes and what he calls the "iceophone" -- the frozen cousin of a xylophone.

"Sometimes ice is completely dead, and sometimes, it is fantastic, so it's really up to the winter," Covitz said.

"It is really hard to make music on ice and to work with ice. And what we do is nearly impossible."

And what exactly does ice sound like? "It is impossible to compare to anything," Isungset said.

Using ice's low frequencies, he creates music that is rooted in traditional Norwegian folk, but with international influences.

Performing with nature's vital resource is "a great honor," Isungset said. "These instruments are not mine, I just borrow them from the earth. I give them back after each use."

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