During the Cultural Olympiad 2009 – 2012 PSQT developed a prototype design for a stone lithophone instrument that was played in Tout Quarry by percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. The idea was developed by artist Hannah Sofaer MA(RCA) originated by her during the first M.I.S.T. R&D project led by PSQT 2003-2004. The second M.I.S.T project 2005-2007 included research into patterns of sound created from the sound of the stone.
The stone Lithophone, built temporarily on site from stones that ring, explores the distinctive range of tones and sustained reverberation found in stone through the different geological structure of the different quarries of Portland. In quarries from Pietra Santa to tamil Nadu the stones are traditionally rung to check the purity of the block. This gives an international dimension to this project through an archive of the stone ringing and quarrying skills.
The educational dimension of the project explores the remarkable acoustic and light reflecting properties of Portland stone – making connections between the arts, earth sciences, industry and ecology, providing a cross-disciplinary approach to learning that is accessible through the local environment and relevant to the curriculum of both local and national schools.