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How One Man Used His Tinnitus To Create Amazing Art

It was early 2008 when Daniel Fishkin’s ears started ringing.  It quickly became more and more severe until it was already changing his life.  But Tinnitus didn’t end his career, it merely reshaped the way he approached his life and his art.

Daniel went on to get his MA for Music Composition at Wesleyan University.  “I do not want to get used to my hearing damage, I want to use it”.  And without a medical cure available, that is just what he did.  Daniel created the project “Tinnitus Suites”, a series of concerts intended to put other people in the shoes of those with hearing damage.  To show them what it is and how it sounds.

So They Created ‘The Lady’s Harp’…

Daniel collaborated with his friend to create a massive, one-of-a-kind electro acoustic instrument – The Lady’s Harp.  It was a labour of love, he had no idea if the creation would work. They were completely based on his theories.  Many prototypes failed, but he finally created a successful portable version.

They created it to “exteriorize the experience of living with tinnitus into an art form.”  The Lady’s Harp uses 8 meter long piano wires which vibrate due to feedback from pressure transducers and guitar pickups.  The vibrating strings sound unlike any instrument you have ever heard.  “As you walk around the room, the notes change along with your movements.”  It puts you into the shoes of how people with tinnitus hear things. You hear notes the way people with tinnitus do.

After months testing and teaching musicians to use it, he was ready to put it into action at the “Philadelphia Hearing Damage” concert series.

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