What happens when two composers dream about a sound which is emitted by no instrument?
Two composers, Hugues Dufourt and Dominique Delahoche both had a sound in mind, the sound of a low frequency percussion instrument. A deep sound which could be easily distinguished from Asian percussion instruments. A partnership between the two composers, the Orchestre national de Lorraine, the national school of engineers Arts et Métiers ParisTech campus Metz, Antoine Chaigne, acoustician, and the instrumental ensemble les Percussions de Strasbourg enabled the materialisation of this sound. Following a number of studies and experiments with different materials, shapes etc. the Veme came into existence. It is the only percussion instrument to function according to the principle of aerial coupling.
By using the electronic sound model provided by the two composers, a student of the national school Arts et Métiers, Mickaël Elbisser, and two of his professors, Denis Matheis and Nicolas Bonnet, carried out research into the required dimensions of the metal plates and succeeded in defining the exact size of the metal plate which would create the exact sound that they were looking for.
Following this stage, it was deemed necessary to increase the volume of the sound produced by the metal plates in order for them to compete with the sound of the orchestra and also to increase the volume of the low frequency sounds. It was at this point that the principle of a resonator was adopted. It should be noted that there is no contact at all between the metal plate and the resonator, and that the sound of the metal plate is communicated to the resonator by aerial coupling. The Veme is the only musical instrument which functions in this way.
Lastly, the structure upon which the different elements of the instrument are assembled was conceived in order to allow the optimum disposition of all of the instrument’s elements and to facilitate a convenient playing posture for the musician as well as to avoid the communication of unwanted vibrations. The Vemes were assembled in the workshops of the national school of Engineering in Metz by Jean-François Noller and Marc-Aurèle Akoto.