The pagophone makes sound from ice (i.e. from H2O in its solid-state). It forms one of the four sections of the H2Orchestra.

(Pagophone performance)

(Explanation of pagophone and context with H2Orchestra)

The pagophone makes sound from ice (i.e. from H2O in its solid-state), when struck, rubbed, or manipulated, usually with rubber mallets.

"Pago" is Greek for ice, and "phone" is Greek for "sound", so "pagophone" means "ice sound", in much the same way that "xylophone" means "wood sound" ("xylo" is Greek for "wood").

This instrument was invented by Steve Mann, who also coined the term "pagophone" to describe it, based on proper Greek etymology. It is intended to add a unique musical texture to the other H2O-based instruments that he invented, such as the hydraulophone.

There are two main preferred embodiments of this invention:

Pagophone: H20 in its various Skates-of-Matter:

Christina (age 5) builds a pagophone for her skates:


Here is a paper on hyperacoustic instruments and the pagophone, published in ICME 2008


In addition to skating and banging on ice blocks, another favorite Canadian tradition is soaking in a hot tub and "snowdiving", "swimming" or rolling in the snow in our bathing suits:

Christina and Daddy slithering in the snow:

More playing in the snow: