Sunday, January 01, 2012

The War Tuba

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Exotic instruments: Serpent, Baryton, Mandobass, Marine Trumpet

Check out these videos of wonderful and exotic instruments: 

The serpent:

The baryton:

The mandolin family – including mandola, mandocello, and – oh, how I want one of thesemandobass:

Perhaps the most annoying musical instrument ever invented is the marine trumpet:

The Theorbo

I love big instruments that make low notes, so it is perhaps inevitable that I'd be attracted to the theorbo. This instrument is essentially a lute with a long extension to its neck to which is attached a number of bass strings. 

Here's a video of Daniel Zapico playing the theorbo in a trio setting:

The Kora

Probably my favorite African instrument is the kora - a west African harp-like instrument with 21 strings. Each kora player typically builds his own instrument from a calabash gourd (often decorated on the inside with magical incantations and formulas), wood, and fishing line for strings. A Malian kora player named Toumani Diabaté ( ) is considered by many to be the master of this beautiful instrument. 

Find out more about the kora at Kora Jaliya ( ).

The Organ

I love the pipe organ for its musical power and the sheer size and complexity of its workings (which can put the piano's 10,000 parts to shame). June found two organ-related shows that we now listen to every week: Pipe Dreams ( ) is a weekly two-hour show on many U.S. public radio stations, devoted to mostly classical pieces performed on “the king of instruments.” 

Popular music and interviews with organists (recently including Rick Wakeman of the bands Yes and The Strawbs) are the mainstays of the 30-minute program The Organist Entertains ( ) on BBC2. As always with BBC, the shows are only kept online for about a week.
Shared by June

The Piano

Are you a fan of the piano, that grand 88-keyed black and white monster that fills many a parlor and concert stage? Perhaps you'd enjoy a tour of the Steinway factory narrated by John Steinway himself:

Some of the footage in that video seems to have come from Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 ( ). It's good movie to rent or download; you'll meet the fascinating and diverse group of people who create the world's greatest pianos in an unassuming factory in New York City. Did you know that a full-sized grand piano can have up to 10,000 moving parts?

If you'd like to add some beautiful piano recordings to your iTunes library, Piano Society ( ) has an excellent website, with over 5,000 high-quality piano recordings available for free download.