Tag: obscure instruments

  • What Is Weather for the Blind?

    What Is Weather for the Blind?

    A UV, moisture, wind, and temperature controlled synthesizer that soundtracks each sunrise and sunset with pleasant tones? Tell me more!

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  • How Mellotrons Work and What Makes Them So Special

    How Mellotrons Work and What Makes Them So Special

    You know the sound from songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever” but now, dive inside the Mellotron and discover why it’s incomparably unique.

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  • What the Heck Is a Bouzouki?

    What the Heck Is a Bouzouki?

    A few years ago when I was on tour more often, I used to stay at a friend’s place in Boston every time we rolled through. Across the street there lived a friendly, half-senile old Greek gentleman. He’d be so excited when we arrive — running out of his house offering shots of ouzo and […]

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  • What the Heck Is a Shakuhachi?

    What the Heck Is a Shakuhachi?

    Like many historically significant Japanese things (Zen Buddhism, character writing, the kimono, temple architecture), the shakuhachi originated in China. And while, like the parenthetically aforementioned items on this list, the shakuhachi can claim Chinese origin, over the course of its history, it has diverged and evolved quite differently from its Chinese relative, the xiao. The shakuhachi is an […]

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  • What the Heck Is a Guzheng?

    What the Heck Is a Guzheng?

    The guzheng (古筝) is one of my favorite instruments in the world. An ancient Chinese plucked-string instrument, today it’s featured prominently in both classical Chinese and modern international compositions. I think of the guzheng as a perfectly balanced mix between a harp and a zither. + Read more: Curious what the heck a theremin, shruti box, djembe, or glockenspiel […]

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  • How to Make Music with Pigeon Whistles

    How to Make Music with Pigeon Whistles

    Last Summer throughout the UK, it was quite possible that if you wandered into an outdoor arts festival, you had a good chance of seeing a flock of pigeons flying overheard, producing a beautiful soundscape of tones. Introducing Nathaniel Mann, a London-based composer, sonic artist, instrument designer, ethnomusicological thinker and the man who strapped whistles […]

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  • Crash Course: Learn the Glockenspiel in 60 Seconds

    Crash Course: Learn the Glockenspiel in 60 Seconds

    We’ve all heard that word before — a blend of German-sounding “ocks” and “schps” that, at least for me, conjures up images of old cuckoo clocks or Alpine adventures. But for those who don’t know, a glockenspiel is actually a small metallic xylophone with tuned keys that produce a high-pitched set of percussive tones. The […]

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  • Crash Course: Learn the Djembe in 60 Seconds

    Crash Course: Learn the Djembe in 60 Seconds

    The djembe is one of West Africa’s best known instruments. It is essentially a goblet-shaped drum carved from a single piece of African hardwood with a head made from rope-tightened animal hide.

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Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability