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Project The Sound of Alabaster: My Motivation (by Giorgio Pecchioni)


I am an alabaster craftsman and after more than twenty years of work, experience and passion I wanted to challenge this stone and try and make alabaster sing.

In the year 2000 Walter Maioli asked me to make a flute in alabaster with the aesthetic characteristics of the flutist in bas-relief on an Etruscan stone urn of the second century A.C. An antique of the Ipogeo dei Volumni-Perugia.
The flutist figured on the urn, property of the Soprintendenza Archeologica of Umbria is one of the first representations of a flutist and was the inspiration for the construction of all the instruments in alabaster that I have made.

This then, is the start of a study of wind and cord instruments made in stone, made in new material, alabaster.

Walter Maioli, organologist plays suggestive music on the flute(six holes) and has added this instrument in stone to his vast collection of antique musical instruments.

Due to particular sound produced by alabaster another flutist Rossano Munaretto from Biella has been drawn to the project and together we have made a four hole flute of Etruscan inspiration.
With his flute Rossano plays mysterious harmonies. He has published a research on the flute in alabaster of Etruscan inspiration in his book ”The flute in Italy” edited by Claudio Paradiso, Istituto Poligrafico Zecca dello Stato, Ministero dei Beni e Attività dello Stato.

I have continued this project making a vast reportory of musical instruments in alabaster proposing and accepting new challenges from this stone with its musical qualities.
My musical instruments follow precise acoustic laws which only an able craftsman with knowledge of music is able to carry out.
This evocative summary is to praise and valorize every person that has participated and that will partecipate in the project of "Alabastro Sonoro". Allowing the creation of a new musical expression. A new voice has been added to music, the sound of alabaster.

In 2001 I met and involved in the project Maestro Marco Giaccaria, musician, composer and also a great friend and web-master: with years of experience in the making of flutes tuned on a standard scale, Marco Giaccaria plys in concerts and records musical tracks with these flutes.

In the same year David Dainelli joined our project, an artist and musician from Volterra who expresses himself with both sculpture and musical compositions. With the precious help of David Dainelli I made the major part of the prototypes of the musical instruments in alabaster such as flutes with different tonalities, Lytophone, ocarinas, Panflute, electric and bass guitars.

For a friend, Stefano Toncelli, I have made a unique guitar, ”Tonce” plays excellent rock music with Antonio Bartalozzi in “Maniscalco Maldestro”.
With Ivano Ascari I made a trumpet, yhe only one of it’s kind tuned in Bb on which he plays excellent music.

In 2003 we were joined in our project Alabastro Sonoro by musician and friend Daniele Picchi,with great passion he has collaborated with me in the making of prototypes of drum barrels for snare-drums in alabaster.Danieleplays his snare-drum in concert with his group”Sticky Fingers” in the ambit of the 3° Simposio Internazionale di Scultura in Alabastro organised by the Associazione AISA,Piazza S.Giovanni in September 2006.
In the same year I joined the association ”Arte in Bottega”.

I’m fortunate to know Luigi Tronci, presidente of the UFIP and I have the pleasure of using the UFIP plates.

During these years I have had great personal satisfaction in seeing and hearing my alabaster instruments being played, even by great musicians that have appreciated their beauty and above all the expressive tone and quality of sound.

Pedro Eustache has four flutes made from alabaster used amongst other things for the title track in the film”The Village”, released in 2006 produced by M.Night Shyamalan, musical composer James Newton Howard.
Ian Anderson and Andrea Griminelli: during one of their concerts brought the Alabaster Sound Project to people’s attention and played my flutes: Cariosport di Cesena 27 September 2002 ”from Bach to Jethro Tull”.
Sting also has a flute in alabaster.

Franco Battiato has one, donated by the Associazione Culturale Volterra Teatro Romano estate 2007 for Simone Migliorini.
Tullio DePiscopo: has a 14” snare-drum in alabaster, a gift from his friend Luigi Tronci in June 2007. I met Tullio in September 2007 during one of his concerts for charity at the Teatro Goldoni in Livorno with Leandro Bartorelli and Paul Moss Band.

On the 14 May 2008 Suggs, the lead singer of Madness dedicated an episode of his television programme ”Suggs' Italian job” and trasmitted on Sky Arte England and Ireland.Wavelength Films production company.
Filming took place in the laboratory, recording several phases of work and a musical performance by “One step beyond” using musical instruments made from alabaster in front of Opus Artis with Marco Giaccaria, David Dainelli, Marzio DelTesta, Stefano Toncelli, Antonio Bartalozzi, Leandro Bartorelli and Suggs.

In May 2008, the great drummer Leandro Bartorelli played in concert with the first prototype drums made from alabaster.

On the 8 of August Claudio Lodati, Marco Giaccaria, Dario Bruna and Enzo Mesiti a quartet by name of “Ensemble dell’Alabastro Sonoro” played their alabaster instruments at Volterra Jazz 2008 in a special evening in Piazza dei Priori.
Our thanks goes to the Scuola di musica Città di Volterra and Associazione Volterra Jazz and the outstanding photography of GIAN of Volterra and Giacomo Saviozzi.

On the 15 November 2008 at an evening at the Persio Flacco in Volterra,”Arte in Bottega” presented the book”Il flauto in Italia”(The flute in Italy) edited by Claudio Paradiso, research by Rossano Munaretto, A modern musical intervention with a flute in alabaster of Etruscan inspiration and a recorder tuned in C4 a marvellous demonstration of the unlimited sound possibilities of instruments made in alabaster.The Paul Moss Band:gave an excellent performance, Leandro Bartorelli on percussion and drums,Fabrizio Favini electric bass,Gianluca Fastame on keyboards,Michele Cuccuini electric guitar and Paul Moss voice and Guitar.

I would like to thank all the musicians that are participating and those that have participated in concerts using alabaster instruments.

Thanks also go to:

  • Comune di Volterra
  • Scuola di Musica Città di Volterra
  • Associazione Arte in Bottega
  • Associazione Accademia degli Etruschi di Bibbona
  • Associazione GIAN (Gruppo italiano amici della natura) di Volterra
  • Luigi Tronci e la UFIP

I dedicate this work to Igor, Asia and Ingrid.

Giorgio Pecchioni