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Ontario Science Centre Hydraulophone (a self-cleaning highly expressive musical keyboard fountain)

The FUNtain (TM) is a self-cleaning acoustic keyboard instrument for use in public spaces. The FUNtain is a fun-to-play fountain keyboard made entirely out of Type 316 Stainless Steel (the same material used to make surgical instruments) and it has no moving parts to wear out or harbour contamination. Each key is a water jet, so the keyboard cleans itself, and also allows a much wider range of musical expression than possible with hard plastic or wooden keys.

The FUNtain is the centerpiece of Teluscape, an outdoor park/playground built on the site of the original fountain out in front of the Ontario Science Centre.

The main focal point of Teluscape is a circular pipe organ that consists of two organ consoles, each of which is a semi-circular hydraulophone (water-pipe-organ-flute and fountain), along with two visible ranks of organ pipes arranged in a larger circle around the hydraulophones.

The hydraulophones produce sound of their own, as well as drive the organ pipes through hydraulic action.

When you block one of the jets on the hydraulophone, it produces its own sound (as hydraulophones normally do) while it also sends water out through the mouth of the corresponding pipe in the North Pool. Water that comes out of the mouths of the organ pipes, as they take turns speaking, collects in the North Pool and cascades down the back side of the pool.

Download avi (about 10meg)
Download higher resolution version in Quicktime MPEG 4 (about 40 meg)

Download a very low-resolution Quicktime MPEG 4 version of the movie (poor image quality but small file size)

Opening of Teluscape, Wednesday 2006 September 20th:

October 2006, a while after the opening:

South Nessie:

Hydraulophone lesson:

Here is a hydraulophone lesson, with pictures from a Point of View camera to show you how to play the hydraulophone.

James Fung's take on the hydraulophone


Three water pumps, each with a separate variable speed drive, are each connected to different parts of the hydraulophone water pipe organ.

Each pump is connected by way of a separate 3 inch diameter water supply pipe

Three air compressors supply wind to the pneumatophonic component of the water pipe organ.

Each is a four cylinder Ingersoll Rand compressor with a separate 25 horsepower motor for each compressor.