Billed as the world’s first eight-legged instrument, the Sonic Spider premiered at the Oxford IF Science + Ideas festival, Saturday October 7th, 2 -5pm at the Baptist Church, Bonn Square.

Go to to read an article about it on page 33 of the festival magazine.

The Sonic Spider is the brainchild of biologist and science writer Dr. Alun Anderson, musician and maker Charlie Beresford – who designed and built the final instrument, and myself as composer and co-ordinator, attempting to build bridges between species on this planet through the medium of sound.

The performances are intended to convey the drama of the world of an orb web spider.

These spiders – always female – spend a lot of time in their webs, waiting for prey. They have very poor eyesight, so rely on the vibrations that their legs – acting as ears – pick up. They can tell the difference between small prey that they can catch and eat without risk, larger prey that might fight back (eg a wasp) or a male suitor. This last makes especial effort to sound different to a prey animal, as he wishes to avoid being eaten (though sometimes, even after a romantic encounter, the female may still eat him).

Watch this space for more information about Sonic Spider activities next year.

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