In our shop, you can find all sorts of curiosities pertaining to musical instruments and equipment. In this blog post we will be introducing five bizarre instruments to you which, for various reasons, have earned the moniker “special”.
“Why is there a saw in the strings department?” – a question pondered by a number of visitors to our shop in Treppendorf. But it’s actually an instrument and not a tool. The musical saw is a popular busking instrument that dates back about 100 years. Musicians make it sing by bending it into an S-shape and drawing a bow from a violin, cello, etc. along its edge. They produce different tones by compressing the saw blade to different degrees with their hand and thumb. This works at home too, by the way, with your own saw – give it a go. It is important, however, that your handsaw has a wide blade. The unusual look of the instrument is no match for the bizarre qualities of its sound: there is something comical about it that recalls the wailing of characters in fairy tales. But give it a listen yourself:
Another exotic creature from our universe of music: the theremin. It sounds unbelievable, but it truly is real: we’re talking about the only musical instrument you can play without touching the instrument itself. This electronic musical instrument was invented by Lew Sergeyewich Termen in 1920. Robert Moog, a pioneer in the field of electronic music, built theremins and lay the foundations for further developments of the legendary Moog synthesizers. Different sounds are created by changing an electric field whereby one hand controls the pitch, the other the volume. The theremin is particularly popular for science fiction films, such as Mars Attacks! We don’t want to be remiss so here is a sound-sample! The strange sound can send chills down a listener’s spine… A quick Tip, the Moog Theremins have a feature for tonal correction and an aid for playing in the desired key, this makes them very simple to play and hence they are supremely well suited for beginners.
Even when you are out hiking, you can still be well equipped and prepared to make music! This Alphorn in the shape of a walking stick is the perfect companion for when you are out and about. Up to six natural pitches can be played on this highly practical instrument. Enjoy our video! 😉
An instrument in the shape of a piece of furniture is, at first glance, peculiar, and always fascinates the visitors to our Thomman shop. But this sound chair isn’t just a seat with a musical function; it’s a sound experience instrument often used in therapy for relaxation. It works like this: the player plucks the strings on the rear of the sound chair. The vibrations and monochord sounds generated by this have a calming effect on the person resting on top who, vitally, is in direct contact with the soothing vibrations. In just 10 minutes, the sound chair can be transformed into either a sound bench or a monochord with a vertical playing surface.
It isn’t the sound of these gongs that is unusual, but how the individual instruments come by their sound – namely with the assistance of mathematics. A planet from our solar system is allocated to each individual gong, giving it a certain planetary frequency and its own sound. The calculation of the different planetary sounds dates back to the Swiss mathematician, Hans Cousto, who “discovered” the cosmic octave at the end of the 1970s. Here is a calculation of planetary frequency taking Venus as an example: fundamental to calculating frequency is the length of time taken to orbit the sun by the second planet. The orbiting time in years is 0.6156186, the orbiting time in days 224.7008 and in seconds 19414149. This results in the following frequency: 1/19414149 sec = 5.15088 * 10^-8 Hz, (5.15088 * 10^-8 Hz ) * 2^32 = 221.23 Hz. The result is multiplied by 2 as many times as it takes until a sound in the middle audible frequency range arises. We had better not withhold the sample from you any longer!
Curious to find out more? Then come and visit our shop in Treppendorf – more surprises from the musical world are awaiting you there.