Hot answers tagged

41

There are actually quite major differences: The Xylophone has a series of wooden bars, tuned to the relevant notes The marimba has similar wooden bars with resonators (originally gourds, now tubes) underneath The Vibraphone is a variant of the marimba, often with metal bars, but with a spinning butterfly at the top of the resonator giving a ...


32

It's easiest for the player to put downward pressure on the instrument string when the bow is making contact with the string near the end that the player holds (the 'frog' end). This means that on a downstroke (extending the arm), it's easier to start the bowing action with firmer pressure. Players tend to take advantage of this by using downstrokes to ...


22

If a customer hasn't made his decision after an hour, etiquette dictates you offer him a cup of coffee, not ask him to leave. I've had a lot of experience buying instruments, though mostly pianos, and have found 15 minutes of play time not to be nearly enough to purchase something in that price range. In fact, especially if the store has a wide selection, I'...


21

Yup, probably. A few reasons I say this: In my experience, the biggest strength of Yamaha musical instruments is consistency -- to see something that looks handwritten is a pretty big red flag. You haven't mentioned a serial number at all. I assume that if there was one, you would include it. One aspect of that consistency is that every single genuine ...


21

There are two concepts and ideas that happen in music which, when combined, explain why this happens. The first is that the way certain instruments are constructed affects what sounds they can produce. The E♭ alto saxophone, the B♭ clarinet, and the horn in F each can easily play in the key designated. Typically, when learning to play these ...


20

Maple boards are typically placed on Swamp Ash or brighter wood bodies and it lends a snap to the tone of the guitar. Rosewood is known to be much mellower, and usually makes it's way on mahogany bodies and necks. They definitely feel different too. A maple neck is harder and feels very smooth under your fingers, while rosewood has some sponginess to it due ...


19

The theremin is played by moving your hands near or far from two antennas (one for pitch, one for dynamics). On ondes Martenot, one can play either with a keyboard or by moving a ring along a ribbon. A washtub bass has you play with the tension you put on the string to change the pitch. Accordions, especially when equipped with buttons, have various ...


18

In the British Brass Band Tradition, the Baritone is a member of the Saxhorn family, whereas the Euphonium is a member of the Tuba family. The Euphonium has a wider bore and a more conical flare over more of the instrument's length, compared to the smaller, shorter Baritone flare. Generally, most Reasonable Euphoniums in the UK will have 4 Valves, arranged ...


18

Over the years, Fender has refined the design of its guitars in ways which it feels make a better product for modern tastes. Modern bridges have more sustain, better resonance, more reliable and fluid tremolo mechanisms. Their current standard fretboard has a higher circumference - that is, it's flatter. Because of modern materials they can make the neck ...


17

I'm not really a brass player, though I used to be a band director and have some idea about brass acoustics. The issue with multiple-valve combinations being too sharp is that the valve system is a compromise. Pretend for a moment that you have a straight trumpet with no valves (so, pretty much a bugle). Of course, you can play pitches in the harmonic ...


17

The distance from the pickup to the strings determines - in simple terms - the strength of the magnetic field acting on the strings. Since a standard magnetic pickup (active or passive) is an electromagnetic transducer, the output voltage is generated when a string vibrates in a magnetic field. So far so good, what of the pickup height? The stronger the ...


17

An attempt to synthesise the various answers given, while giving some opinions of my own. Portability 'Portable' is a bit of a vague requirement. Some instruments fit in your pocket. Some instruments fit in a small backpack. Some instruments fit in a large backpack. Loudness I'm not sure what's too loud for a dorm room. It depends on your neighbour's ...


17

A transposing instrument is one for which the standard practice is to write music in a key different from the sounding pitch of that instrument. For example, a non-transposing instrument is something like a piano (anything with a keyboard, really)--when you read a C on the staff, you play a C and it sounds a concert pitch C. Most pitched percussion ...


17

I'd suggest the piano. While it takes many years to master, the piano is one of the easiest instruments to begin playing. Learning to play even the simplest chords or melodies on other instruments can take weeks, but a complete novice can use a keyboard. The piano also lends itself well to composition because it has a wide range and it is easy to play ...


16

When you practice playing an instrument, you are practicing playing that particular instrument. If you were a brass player, for example, you would NEVER want to spend all of your time practicing on a crappy instrument with wonky tuning and then do the gig on your $3,000 horn. Even if you sound pretty good on the crap instrument, you would be changing too ...


15

The obvious ones are -trumpet - no use for pinkie at all, and slide trombone - no use for fingers separately. Followed closely by xylophone/marimba/glock/vibraphone and drums.


14

All of your points are good; one of the reasons guitar became so popular in western culture in the early days, is because its portable. So its sort of a travelling minstrels piano. During the late 19th/early20th centuries in America(post emancipation act), there were lots of travelling musicians who couldn't afford a piano; and even if they could, they ...


14

If your wife is a violinist there are many things than can be transposed from violin to cello in the search for quality. Don't forget the bow. There are so many things... I will try to make a real answer in the coming hours and days by editing this one, I feel I have not yet touched 1/10th of what should be given. But first, have you considered renting? ...


14

The black and white bits are the same, except you will probably only get 49/61 of them instead of the 88 you're probably used to. The action will be rather different, too. No matter how loudly or quietly you try to play, the volume will remain the same. There is no sustain pedal, so that will be different, too. You'll have to acclimatise yourself to playing ...


14

Learning the guitar as a beginner has many inherent challenges from the very start. For one, you are asking the new guitar student to teach their brain how to tell their fingers to contort in very strange and unnatural ways that they have never before even remotely contemplated. And the finger strength needed for many chords has not been developed yet. ...


13

The reason we have wound strings is due to the physics of the string's vibration. A heavier string vibrates more slowly, causing a lower pitch. The wound strings could be solid wires, and achieve the pitch we need, however getting it to bend correctly across the bridge and nut, be easily fretted, AND be tunable, would be difficult. Imagine trying to do a ...


13

The basics of music theory are the same across instruments. Notes, scales, chords, transposition, harmony, etc. are all intrument-independent at the theory level. I would not worry about finding a guitar-specific book until you have mastered the basics.


13

Looks like a Sousaphone to me. :)


13

Those are x-y MIDI controllers more commonly referred to as Kaoss Pads. If you are familiar with a modulation wheel on a MIDI keyboard, you know you can assign that wheel to control any number of aspects of the instrument, from pitch bend, to volume, to vibrato, an LFO, or perhaps a filter. The x-y pad gives you two of those on a plane, with which you can ...


12

Well, the piano started out with only about 60 keys, same as the harpsichord – in fact it WAS a harpsichord, except that the harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori (try saying that 10 times fast!) got the bright idea of putting hammers on one (to HIT the strings) instead of plectra (to PLUCK the strings). So the piano was invented – this ...


12

As long as you are following good maintenance practices, then no, the only added risk of damage comes from the instrument not being in a protective case. (Hopefully the instrument isn't sitting on a stand long enough for it to collect dust.) Of course, on a clarinet, part of good maintenance practice is swabbing out the moisture after every playing session, ...


12

There are two different ways that the middle pedal on American pianos works. This pedal is called the "Sostenuto" pedal and, unlike the Sustain pedal, does not sustain every note on the piano. This website gives great videos and explanations of each piano pedal. On higher end pianos, the middle pedal (Sostenuto pedal), sustains only those notes which are ...


12

It's obvious when you think about it, but the biggest difference between an organ and a piano is the way their sounds decay. A piano is a hammer hitting a string. The loudest sound is right at the beginning, and from there on the sound decays organically as the string returns to rest. If you let the dampers do their thing, the decay is shortened, but it's ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible