One focus of our current exhibit, Tone, Rhythm, Pitch: Exploring Percy Grainger’s Free Music, was to show how the Grainger’s home in White Plains was very much a studio and workshop, a space continuously changed to accommodate their creativity. Multiple areas of the house were given over to projects and experiments. Period photographs show Ella using the living room as a painting studio and Percy seated working on compositions, the front porch with Burnett Cross and Percy testing and adjusting an experiment, and Percy using the kitchen floor as a large flat space to draw, cut and glue large templates. Free Music Machines spanned floor to ceiling in the living room. Tools and supplies were stored nearby in the butler’s pantry.
Free Music machines and experiments were all over the house, including the second floor. Shown here are a few of the images documenting the period in the 1950s when Percy Grainger, along with Ella Grainger and Burnett Cross, worked together to design and build machines to produce free music.