The Oscillation Key
by ‘Amr Fekry with Khaled ‘Abd al-Hamid, carpenter
Wood, inlay, strings, 2014
‘Amr Fekry wants to understand neteru, the gods in ancient Egyptian, as a world of vibrations under a perfect divine order. He sees musical instruments as tools that man created to communicate with this sacred world by manifesting the divine order in actual sounds. Ancient Egyptian reliefs show priests playing music in the service of gods, and it is perhaps fitting that the concept of music as a bridge between the material world and the divine, such as the representation of a priest playing his harp (from the tomb of Ramesses III in the Valley of the Kings) was among the earliest images to shape the perception of ancient Egypt in Europe.
‘Amr Fekry and Khaled ‘Abd al-Hamid created a musical instrument that ‘Amr calls the “oscillation key” to the divine vibrations, inspired by the ancient Egyptian harp and the tambur, a traditional string instrument still popular in Egypt. The harps of ancient Egypt came in a variety of sizes and shapes, and with the number of strings varying from 4 to 22. The long-necked, rounded-bodied tambur can also come in a variety of different shapes.
The instrument is of a new form and design. This key to the heavenly vibrations is decorated in the traditional technique of inlay that Khaled Abdel uses in his workshop to make stunning chairs, coffee tables and boxes.
The design followed ‘Amr’s understanding of some Sufi and Ancient Egyptian mystical concepts, according to which a sacred geometry rules the forms of the natural world. By using that sacred geometry in creating his instrument, he wants to view it as a way to connect back to the divine.
Klio Krajewska, curator
For Khaled, working on a musical instrument was a new experience, and a challenge as he has no musical background knowledge. On the other hand, he found it not very different from his regular work, because keeping correct dimensions, joining parts properly and applying decoration and art, are the common ground in carpentry regardless of what kind of object is produced. Amr was very easy to work with, and Khalid appreciated his creativity and the seriousness of his involvement. Amr was able to communicate in a direct and forthright way in order to deliver the concept and express the desired form clearly. There was no need for any special or new tools, but the limited space in the small workshop was a hindrance. Moreover, Khaled had no knowledge about some elements of the instrument, like the tuning pegs. Nevertheless, by working very closely together they achieved the desired result. The instrument was made of rosewood, a rare, high-quality material which is strong yet lightweight. It contributed to the aesthetic quality of the product. ‘Amr was very satisfied when he finally attached and tuned the strings, and heard the beautiful sound. Khaled’s was gratified by being able to fulfil ‘Amr’s expectations. He is willing to take on challenging and creative projects, because he values his profession. The harmonious cooperation with ‘Amr was proof to him of the value and usefulness of his craft.
based on the interview with Taher ‘Abd al-Ghani of ARCHiNOS Architecture