The Intonarumori were a family musical instruments invented in 1913 by italian futurist painter and musical composer Luigi Russolo. They were acoustic noise generators that permitted to create and control in dynamic and pitch several different types of noise. None of the original instruments have survived, but the video above shows recreations of the instruments following Russolo’s plans.
Let’s walk together through a great modern capital, with the ear more attentive than the eye, and we will vary the pleasures of our sensibilities by distinguishing among the gurglings of water, air and gas inside metallic pipes, the rumblings and rattlings of engines breathing with obvious animal spirits, the rising and falling of pistons, the stridency of mechanical saws, the loud jumping of trolleys on their rails, the snapping of whips, the whipping of flags. We will have fun imagining our orchestration of department stores’ sliding doors, the hubbub of the crowds, the different roars of railroad stations, iron foundries, textile mills, printing houses, power plants and subways. And we must not forget the very new noises of Modern Warfare.
– Read Luigi Russolo’s Futurist manifesto The Art of Noise (1913)