Music: New Ways to Make Noise

The piano had a standard keyboard−but it sounded like a muted xylophone. There was a zitherlike instrument that resembled an outdoor barbecue cooker. An unrecognizable assemblage of crystal rods, stroked by musicians with moistened fingers, emitted resonant whoops that fluttered through attached whiskers of piano wire. At San Francisco's Conservatory of Music last week, an audience of 150 was captivated by the sounds−and sight−of some of the newest and weirdest musical instruments on earth.

All the instruments are the creations of French Sculptor Francois Baschet, 42, whose musical skill is limited to strumming...

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