Unusual / Rare Instruments

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stiofan
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Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by stiofan »

I've been finding myself perusing an out of the way corner of the interwebs dedicated to 'rare and strange instruments' and thought the CFPP would be a good place to see what other sound or noise making devices pique our collective fancy. Now, I realise there's a certain cultural (or even generational) subjectivity to what qualifies as an unusual or rare instrument, but here goes.

I'll start with the Glass Armonica, 'invented' by the one and only Ben Franklin (although apparently there were forerunners to Franklin, including Irishman Richard Pokrich), a curious instrument comprised of a number of glass bowls spun around and touched with dampened fingers to produce tones, akin to how sounds are made on the rim of a wine glass.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/b ... s-armonica

Sounds of a Glass Armonica: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEKlRUvk9zc

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Okay, what are some of your favorite unusual/rare/unknown/eccentric music-making devices?
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Not totally obscure, I thought. Mozart wrote for it. See, for example : Mozart Adagio K 617a for glass armonica

Not a long way from singing wine glasses, just a bit more organised set up.
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Tunborough »

Douçaine, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2ygi9grejU. Until they recovered the Mary Rose, douçaines were pretty much mythical beasts.

The Masters thesis of Aage Bent Nielsen describes how he went about reproducing the instrument, https://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/td/142/.
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Peter Duggan »

Mr.Gumby wrote:Not totally obscure, I thought. Mozart wrote for it.
The flute obbligato in the 'mad scene' from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor was also originally written for it and is increasingly performed on it again now.
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by PB+J »

I'd like to get hold of a Stroh guitar

Image

or a stroh violin

They probably sound awful

I've always wanted to try a Howe-Orme guitar, which has a cylindrical arch on the top, along with an adjustable neck


https://youtu.be/eC4espq-65c
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Mr.Gumby »

They probably sound awful
The fiddles sound a bit tinny but not downright terrible. The early Coleman's were rtecorded on one. And ofcourse, Julia :

Image Image

(below a snap of Gerry Harrington with her's):
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I started scouring fleamarkets during my mid teens, I came across perhaps not proper 'Stroh' instrumetns but similar, probably cheaper, one or two stringed fiddles and plucked/strummed ones (although not proper guitars).

A man I used to play with had a Stroh fiddle and they are not too hard to find for sale (I looked into them some years a go out of curiosity).

This one is sitting on ebay, again not a 'proper' Stroh one but it has a horn.
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Nanohedron »

53 valve tuba:

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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by PB+J »

I had no idea Strohs were use in ITM!
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Mr.Gumby »

PB+J wrote:I had no idea Strohs were use in ITM!
Well, they were a necessity for the early recordings, Coleman and other fiddlers hated them. Julia Clifford was the outlier if you like. She played it 'out' when she felt she needed the extra volume. There's a lovely photo of her sister Bridie with her's in Jill Friedman's book. Gerry Harrington used it for some tunes on the CD with Julia's son Blilly. I took the snap in the RnaG mobile studion when they were launching it.
A few people have them but they're not exactly common.

If you really want tinny, go for the brass fiddles. :P

(Michael Kelleher playing one below:)

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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Peter Duggan »

Nanohedron wrote:53 valve tuba
Most, or all, of which are floating above the tube and wouldn't work how we're meant to believe even if they weren't!
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Nanohedron »

Peter Duggan wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:53 valve tuba
Most, or all, of which are floating above the tube and wouldn't work how we're meant to believe even if they weren't!
I'm not one to say, having no familiarity with brass instruments. But its apparent owner, Dale Hale, says it's the bees knees:

http://www.dalehale.com/CoolTubas/manyvalvetuba.htm
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by david_h »

Peter Duggan wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:53 valve tuba
Most, or all, of which are floating above the tube and wouldn't work how we're meant to believe even if they weren't!
That thing had me thinking of the old C&F home page.
If I wasn't so lazy I'd set to work in Photoshop
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by Nanohedron »

david_h wrote:That thing had me thinking of the old C&F home page.
If I wasn't so lazy I'd set to work in Photoshop
Oh, well. Looks cool, anyway.
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by chas »

My absolute favorite is the rackett:

https://unholyrackett.com/2017/09/12/al ... -racketts/

It's a predecessor to the bassoon. It's not long, but there are nine bores in the main body. I'm gonna make one one of these days.
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Re: Unusual / Rare Instruments

Post by trill »

chas wrote:My absolute favorite is the rackett. . . I'm gonna make one one of these days.
Speaking of making:

If I read the narrative correctly, one of them uses a single narrow bore coiled 9 times in the *small* wooden cylindrical body.

Just think: a Low-D coiled into a little can, shorter than a soprano D ! :D

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