Jolyonophone – Music from Science!

Ever heard of “Jolyonophone”? It is okay if you have not heard of it before, but come to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 on 4 & 5 Aug to see the real thing! Meanwhile, check out this photo for a preview!


What is a “Jolyonophone”?

A “Jolyonophone” is a self-sustaining two-string slide guitar with a water-pipe theme (see above picture). It is named after its inventor Jolyon Caplin.

The gadget was also used during the opening ceremony of the Gardens by the Bay recently!

 About the Maker

 Jolyon Caplin has been teaching, inventing and entertaining in Singapore for 24 years. During the day, Jolyon is located in Singapore Polytechnic. At other times, he plays with music, electronics, unicycles (wow!) and keeps trying out ideas and technical twists at home or in his unusual laboratory.

He shared that his work is also his hobby, and he has always loved seeing how things work and are made. Although he is officially an electronics guy, Jolyon expressed that he is wildly interested in everything from MRT construction to buildings, road structure, cars, several aspects of the Arts, etc.

At 10 years old, he made his first projects of cardboard box theatres with coloured lighting, and moved on to make light flashers, simple radios and other things from “junk” that people passed down to him and bits and pieces from the neighbourhood hardware shops or $2 stores. Usually, these items will be used in ways different from what they were intended to be. For example, the Jolyonophone was initially meant to demonstrate to school children how an electric guitar works, but he ended up adding automatic motors to make it play by itself!

Besides “Jolyonophone”, Jolyon will also be showcasing the “Ped-accompaniment” foot-controlled, chord-based backing themes for a street performer, a “Whirly-horn” shower-hose, water-funnel horn for fun music-making and more. Jolyon has also kindly agreed to demonstrate some performances at intervals. You should watch out for them!

On the Singapore Maker Scene

When asked about the Singapore Maker Scene, Jolyon said that groups like collect quite a few like-minded people –many of whom are also fabulous at programming weird and wonderful systems – though not all are as crazy about manipulating electronics / anything-onics as he is!  He felt that most Singaporeans enjoy the activities of watching TV, surfing the internet, or playing destructive shoot-‘em-up games – leaving them with no time left to get practical! He opined that getting them to make things would be challenging, though he is still keen to do so.

Advice for budding Makers

Like many other Makers, Jolyon has a simple piece of advice to budding Makers:- Make time to tinker!

It is very true indeed, as most people would need the push to get started, so if you are thinking of trying your hands at something that had inspired your creative juice, please heed Jolyon’s advice and wait no further. Gather the materials and start putting them together now!

Jolyon added that it is important to enjoy what you do, not to try too hard or be too exact, and be ready to adapt ideas, and you may be surprised how good you can be!

If you do not wish to miss out on such interesting musical demonstrations, join us at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 next weekend at the Science Centre Singapore.


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