Music ► Really cool instruments! Part II



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Grono

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Hello, and welcome to the second edition of my really cool instruments series! This week we have some very interesting instruments, hand-picked by myself with recommendations from Harmonie.

Without further ado, let's get this ball rolling!


1. The Rackett (aerophone)



Recommended by Harmonie. The Rackett, also known as the Sausage Bassoon, was a renaissance-era double reed that was introduced in the late sixteenth century, superseded by the bassoon by the end of the seventeenth century. It may look small, but Rackett's had a lot of piping wrapped in a small space, so these instruments could come packed with surprisingly low sounds in them, going from left to right as discant, tenor-alto, bass, and great bass.


2. The Mellotron (electrophone)



The Mellotron is a special electrophone designed to be able to play a plethora of sounds. Popularized by The Beatles, this instrument stretches a length of magnetic tape across a head, and then accesses certain pieces of the tape to access all sorts of unique sounds


3. The Badgermin (electrophone)



The theremin was famous for creating strange sci-fi movie sounds, such as UFO's landing and the like. So, how do we make it stranger? Well, how about shove it into a taxidermy badger for the hell of it? Yeah, that seems right.


4. The Fontomfrom drum (membranophone)



The fontomfrom drum is a type of drum used by the Ashanti tribe of Africa. The drums are usually used for royal processionals, and are famous for mimicking human speech patterns through their rhythms. They are sometimes used exclusively for this purpose, although this is less likely than the royal use they're known for.


5. The Klaviatur-Kontrafagott, or Keyboard-Contrabassoon (aerophone)



Recommended by Harmonie. This strange instrument by Wieprecht appears to be similar to that of the melodion; whereas the melodion has a tube blow through the keys, this seems to be more in the likes of a traditional contrabassoon, just with a fingering pattern architecturally mirroring that of the piano keyboard. Other than that, not much is known about this instrument. No recreations of this instrument have been found by me yet.


6. The Duduk (aerophone)



You may famously recognize the sound of this instrument by its presence in The Chronicles of Narnia movies, being the instrument that plays the tune Mr. Tumnus plays early in the first movie. While the instrument may not be physically represented in that movie, it is essentially an Armenian instrument made of apricot wood that uses a double reed, and its notable for its smooth sound and its uncharacteristically large reed for its size.


7. The Glass Armonica (idiophone)




The Glass Armonica, sometimes used to play dance of the sugarplum fairy, is a hydrocrystallophone that goes back to the year 1761. Benjamin Franklin had previously heard use of glass harps around the globe during the time, so he ended up inventing a radically different arrangement of the glass instruments, inventing a keyboard-like instrument he dubbed the glass armonica. The instrument is played by spinning a foot-spun wheel to rotate the bowls, and then running wet fingers against the edges of the bowls to create that ethereal, glass sound.


8. The Serpent (aerophone)



The serpent is a bass wind instrument distantly related to the tuba, with a brass mouthpiece but woodwind-like side-holes. The instrument is often bent into a snake-like shape, hence the name, and it sometimes has a snake's head at the bell of the instrument as decoration. The instrument is often known as clumsy and unclear, and was often mocked by composers for being so. It is often unfavorably compared, alongside the ophicleide, to its far superior successor, the tuba.


9. The Sheng (aerophone)




The Sheng is a Chinese mouth organ, a free reeded woodwind instrument popular in Chinese opera. Modern sheng's have increased the sound output, keys, and chromatic properties, greatly increasing the range that the instrument originally had. The instrument often accompanies suona or dizi solo performances.


10. The Litungu (chordophone)



Hey, guys! This is me and my Litungu right here that I bought at my state fair last year! Not too much is documented about this instrument, but it is often played by the Luhya ethnic group of Kenya, and traditionally has seven strings. It is considered a bowl lyre, and is played flat on the lap and plucked by both hands, often accompanied by vocals.

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Well, There you have it! Any really cool instruments you've discovered or known about recently? Make sure to comment below and let me know, and I'll be back next Tuesday for the next installment in this series! ^u^
 

Harmonie

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Us two will probably ever be the only ones ever posting in these topics. Lol. Did you know my new username is actually a term from the 18th century or so referring to ensembles of woodwind and brass instruments? That's why I chose it, I'm such a nerd. Most people will probably think it's just a misspelling of "harmony", but that's not true.

Anyway, there are multiple versions of the rackett. The line you posted is actually different from the type I posted. I forget the real difference between them two, aside from the rackett bassoon having a bell and bocal like that of a bassoon (or dulcian, which was the bassoon's predecessor, as the bassoon did not yet exist back then).

The serpent is so cool. I want one. It's like a brass bassoon. Not meaning to advertise this store, but they have a page for the serpent and a listening example. I just love that the listening example uses the melody from Gryphon's The Unquiet Grave (it's probably some ancient unrelated melody, sadly I do not know). It just has a sound that is oddly like, as I said before, a brass bassoon.

Anyway, here's some others just off the top of my head.

The Sarrusophone. Probably the first "obscure" wind instrument I ever heard of. I've actually run into a number of people IRL that know what it is. It's a big clunky instrument that, to be blunt, I've never heard sound good. D:

The Rothophone (I hope I'm remembering the name right). It was a line of saxophone like instruments, except using a double-reed.
 

Grono

KH ☼ D&D ☼ Music ☼ Wack.
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Us two will probably ever be the only ones ever posting in these topics. Lol. Did you know my new username is actually a term from the 18th century or so referring to ensembles of woodwind and brass instruments? That's why I chose it, I'm such a nerd. Most people will probably think it's just a misspelling of "harmony", but that's not true.

Anyway, there are multiple versions of the rackett. The line you posted is actually different from the type I posted. I forget the real difference between them two, aside from the rackett bassoon having a bell and bocal like that of a bassoon (or dulcian, which was the bassoon's predecessor, as the bassoon did not yet exist back then).

The serpent is so cool. I want one. It's like a brass bassoon. Not meaning to advertise this store, but they have a page for the serpent and a listening example. I just love that the listening example uses the melody from Gryphon's The Unquiet Grave (it's probably some ancient unrelated melody, sadly I do not know). It just has a sound that is oddly like, as I said before, a brass bassoon.

Anyway, here's some others just off the top of my head.

The Sarrusophone. Probably the first "obscure" wind instrument I ever heard of. I've actually run into a number of people IRL that know what it is. It's a big clunky instrument that, to be blunt, I've never heard sound good. D:

The Rothophone (I hope I'm remembering the name right). It was a line of saxophone like instruments, except using a double-reed.
Maybe we will be, lol. I don't care if not a lot of people see it, it's just something I like to do!

I didn't know that about harmonie, I was just assuming it was harmony in a different language or something :p

I did know about the split difference between Rackett's, I just picked whichever one I found the better picture for, honestly. I almost picked the one with the bocal, but the picture was kind of unclear so I decided to go with the picture I put up there :)

I think the serpent is a cool concept, but I've sadly never heard a great performance of it. It's just one of those instruments that needed to be replaced eventually, but as a tuba player I do have quite a bit of bias on the matter, anyways. The ophicleide kind of sucks too, no matter how much I want one! I do want a serpent too, but it'll just hang on my wall if anything :p

Do you know of the Russian Bassoon? It's a travel serpent in the shape of a bassoon, it's pretty similar to the dulcian if you ask me :)

Sarussophone was on my list I've prepared for next week, actually! I'll make sure to make a note that you suggested it, though!

I was also going to talk about the dulcian next week :)

Rothophone, huh? Rings a bell, but I've got to say I've never looked into it. Time to go digging :)

I have so many ideas for instruments that I want to discuss! The Singing Tesla Coil, the Pyrophone, the Yaybahar, the Bazantar, the Tritare, and even the amplified cactus! I have a couple of themed posts coming up, two on experimental musical instruments, such as prepared piano and the like, and one post on mutes, primarily trombone and trumpet mutes. The mutes one I'm really excited for, since, as a brass player, I actually have quite a few mutes myself, including a couple of them on the list!
 
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