Experiments in Freedom

Percy Grainger's Free Music Machines

07—23 October


Percy Grainger's last great adventure into experimental music saw him attempting to build extraordinary music machines that would revolutionise ideas about making and experiencing music. 

In a collaboration between artist Michael Candy and musician and composer Rosalind Hall, these pioneering instruments have been recreated so that audiences can play and hear Free Music for themselves.

Located within the University of Melbourne's Grainger Museum are three striking recreations of the machines the composer produced in his attempt to realise the gliding tones in his mind.

For the first time, audiences are able to actually play and hear these instruments. You can wind and rewind the gliding oscillations of the Kangaroo Pouch Machine, operate the Reed Box Tone Tool powered by air suction, and watch as light turns to sound in the Electric Eye Tone Tool!  

Rosalind Hall is a musician and composer exploring the possibilities of acoustic and electronic instruments. Michael Candy is a kinetic/new media artist investigating unexpected relationships between environments and sound.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.


Make a day of it and discover Melbourne Festival’s Visual Arts program. Join Rosalind Hall—musician and researcher behind the exhibition — on a guided tour to explore the fascinating story of Grainger’s life long quest to realise his Free Music.

SUN 09 OCTOBER from 11AM

Find out more →

IMAGE | Oscillator-playing tone tool, 1st experiment. Watercolour by Percy Grainger. Image courtesy the Grainger Museum.
  • Cultural Collisions presented in association with


Researcher and Producer
Rosalind Hall
Designer and Engineer
Michael Candy
Jonathon Drews