Look at the instruments and hear some of them play:
Click on the name of the instrument you would like to explore to the left!

This page contains RealAudio files to listen to if you wish. If you don't have RealAudio, you will need to go first and download the free RealPlayer. Of course, these sounds don't have the same quality as the full-length original recordings, which for the most part are from the cd "Johannes Bergmark's Material Music" (out of stock, but you can find other cds here.

I have constructed my own musical instruments since about 1990, as a result in particular, of the visit to Chicago and the instrument maker & designer Hal Rammel. Like Rammel's, my instruments are for the most part made in order to be played by the maker in an improvised setting. The start of the making of instruments coincides in time with my "classical" education to a piano builder, and the first experiments were made in the school’s workshop.
During the education, and on other courses, I have also made a number of classical instruments. I have also made some very simple traditional instruments from cheap materials.
Also shown are other unusual instruments that I play.

[Working on the Kaleidochord in the kitchen]

Working on the Kaleidochord in the kitchen.


All by yourself and noone gives you orders.

The most traditional music maker, in a historical sense, is the one that designs and builds his/her instruments him/herself, who plays and makes his/her music by him/herself and who improvises a lot and thinks about what is important in the specific situation. It is a type of artist that we today often call experimental.
I have been attracted to such an activity because I want to give as much room as possible for the surrealist voice, the poetical and political quality that lies in giving up too specific plans and give room to the power of imagination, intuition, improvisation and dreams. It is also a revolt against academism and authoritarianism which is so dominating in this culture, not to speak of the cult of money and fame.
By making my own instruments, and by improvising on them with a stress on the playing situation, I want to get away from what music and a musician are, and explore what it is to be a human or an animal, what it is to make things together (in a moral as well as a poetical sense) and what a society is.
An indirectly political action, but above all a poetical one.


[Drawing for the Whalefish]
When I was planning what was to become the "Whalefish", I had the idea of a multitimbral instrument that would combine many different sounds and playing methods, and which I could play the saw, percussion and wind instruments with, like a "one-man-band".
This is one of many scetches. Drawing: Johannes Bergmark.

[Cardboard model tried out]

Here I am trying out a cardboard model of what was to become the "Whalefish". On this stadium, the idea was to combine wooden and metal resonators in a construction that would have been a monster and very heavy and difficult to transport. I chose instead to make something that could be mounted down in a travel case. Photo © Hans Einar Nerland.

See how the Whalefish ended up!


[Drawing]
Drawing for an instrument under construction, with experiences from the "Whalefish". The idea is to be able to transport it in a violin case and then mount it easily on a table. Drawing: Johannes Bergmark.

This attempt was left half-way unfinished - now (summer 2008) I've made a new but similar construction: see Platforms.


[Bergmark's instrument collection before a concert 2005]

The usual instrument setup for a gig around 2005...

[Bergmark's instrument collection before a concert 2008]

...and the new setup from 2008.


The Gallery
Updated the 30th of March 2010.