Power Pole Bells

Since 1996, Anne Norman has been collecting galvanised iron caps from the top of old electricity poles from various power company depots. These galvanised iron caps were made by the SEC (State Electricity Company of Victoria, Australia) to fit electricity poles made from tree trunks of varying diameters. Their function was to protect the poles from the weather and for mounting insulators above the poles. These iron caps make marvellous microtonal bells and have been performed numerous times by Anne and her colleagues in Victoria and Japan and have been recorded and broadcast by the ABC. In Anne's collection of PP caps, the diameters range from 18cm to 32cm with a pitch range of nearly two octaves from aprox 130 Hz to 440 Hz.

In 2003, Anne received a grant from the Australia Council (the arts funding and advisory body of the Commonwealth Government) towards making two structures: an acoustic performance frame of spring mounted bells (Spring Bells) and an electro-acoustic bell installation known as the Bell Garden.

Compositions by various composers featuring power pole bells (MP3)

Spring mounted bells, photographs & information

Painted bells & original power pole cap Plates & Bells Wendy Greenberg rehearsing spring plates Adjustable bell stand A spring plate gives a bass sound Holes are drilled to locate the bells Anne at play A bell sandwich Hitting the centre of a 'sandwiched' bell

The Bell Garden Installation



Still in development phase. Anne is collaborating with Angelo Fraietta on the electronics and Michael Sanders of IRONIC TWIST on the metal construction.

The multifunction Bell Garden is for use with movement artists and live musicians, and as an interactive public sound art installation for use in public galleries and arts festivals. It can be performed:

  1. with beaters acoustically
  2. with subtle amplification of the acoustic sound
  3. with electronic effect modulation of the acoustic sound
  4. through movement detectors triggering an auto striking mechanism
  5. through movement detectors triggering samples
  6. through strike triggered samples
Photos, schemata & further information


We Lose Things

A composition by Anne Norman for power pole bells, shakuhachi and bass. Dedicated to the memory of Machiko Kaneko

(Sounds Australian ­ AMC)