Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

27

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 ...


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 ...


13

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 ...


12

Well, I think the harmonica is a good one. The arrangement of notes is somewhat linear, but some notes are blown, others are drawn, and only drawn notes can be 'bent'. You need to practice producing single notes, not just blowing chords the whole time. You can experiment with different grips, and mouth shapes... they're affordable and very portable!


11

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 ...


10

It depends on the instrument. Digital electronic instruments are probably OK. String instruments, especially those with steel strings, will be seriously affected: Heat causes metal strings to expand - dropping the pitch. Heat causes other metal components, like truss rods, to expand and bend Materials other than metal also expand in heat (but to a lesser ...


10

All instruments denoted "brass" require flapping lips (no jokes pls :-) ) to produce the acoustic frequency. Woodwinds do not. <-- So it's not so much being a reed instrument, rather that the instrument contains the oscillating element. Flutes and recorders (aka blockflote, whereas flutes are "querflotes") use an air chamber of one shape or another to ...


10

I own a musical saw. I have found it very difficult to get started, and gave up before being able to play a simple tune with any kind of fluency. The first challenge is to coax a clean note out of the saw. You must bend the saw into an 'S' shape, and bow at the resonant position. If you bow in the wrong place, you'll get an ugly scrape. If you bow in just ...


9

A Google search on "musical instrument taxonomy" yielded a reasonable picture with the key feature: It breaks the world (of musical instruments) up by the mechanism that is used to produce sound. Thus the top-level division is between Chordophones, making sound by vibrating strings, Aerophones making sound by vibrating/pulsating columns of air, ...


9

I think you're too quick to dismiss the trombone. Although the slide is almost the definition of "linear", the relationship between slide positions and pitches is not quite as straightforward as it appears. The trombone is a great fit for your second criterion: intonation is very much something you have to think about. First you have to commit the slide ...


8

Basic troubleshooting demands isolation and substitution. You need to do some homework before anyone can render a meaningful answer. Here is your assignment: 1) substitute the guitar with another electric, do you get the same result? 2) if not, substitute the guitar cable, do you get the same result? Now if you don't get the same result in the first test, ...


8

I can't recognize, how a trumpet matches the "less known" criterion, but I would definitely add bassoon to the list; the irregularity may be seen in this fingering table. The fingering alone is (as with all woodwinds) not sufficient but additional embouchure variations are necessary, which depend on the instrument itself, even if some generic trends apply ...


8

The ocarina is a nice example. The fingering patterns are fairly straightforward (not entirely what you'd expect, but you can easily memorize it after playing for 15 minutes). However, the blowing technique is way more difficult than one would expect it to be. If you blow a bit too hard, your note will sound too high. If you blow too quietly, your note will ...


8

Well, "non-reed" eliminates most of the woodwind family, leaving only the flute family. Recorder is pretty easy. There's a reason it's the instrument of choice for elementary school music programs. It takes zero embouchure (mouth position/strength) and almost no air support--you pretty much just blow into it gently and it works. Other recorder-like ...


7

I'd recommend a reed instrument (Clarinet, Sax) to round-out your knowledge of woodwinds. While the keys may appear at first to be the same as the flute, they are not. Also, the register break on the Clarinet does not jump an octave like with the flute, but an octave+fifth. You appear to be associating linearity with easy and non-linearity with difficult. ...


7

There is this nice chart on Wikipedia that show the range of many instruments, probably more than a composer would typically use to compose music. Harps, Pianos, Bassoons, Contra-alto Clarinets, Tenor Wagner Tubas, Bass Trombones, Baritone Horns and Euphoniums are example of those that you need. By the way, some musical notation programs like Sibelius ...


6

You may be interested in the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification. It is very similar to the Dewey Decimal system for libraries. The instruments you are talking about are all within the Non-free aerophones group (42) which is further broken down into: Edge-blown aerophones/flutes (421) Reed aerophones (422) Trumpets (423) The ...


6

Woodwind instruments are generally made to play with wind (players breath) being blown past a reed or reeds. The obvious odd ones are recorders and flutes, which don't have reeds, but still produce sound when wind is blown through or over them. Brass instruments, however, won't make much noise when blown into in the way one blows into a recorder.A ...


6

There are of course plenty of strange electronic instrument that are played completely unlike anything mechanical. More than the Theremin and ondes Martenot, the Monotron matches your quest for something with a non-obvious geometric layout: while there is a standard keyboard depicted on its ribbon controller and you can, with a stylus, play it much like a ...


5

There's one more important thing the answers so far haven't mentioned: a pickup's output signal doesn't follow the string movement simply in a linear fashion, but in a rather complex relation depending on inhomogenity of the magnetic field, coil geometry etc., and the closer you get the more nonlinear. The result is somewhat similar to a gentle but very ...


5

The trumpet mouth piece is made up of 4 main sections: rim, cup, throat and backbore. All the following information comes from The Trumpet by John Wallace and Alexander Mcgraham, the Vincent Bach mouthpiece manual and my own experience as a trumpet player. A thin rim is good for tone and control of articulation but cuts into the lip. A wide rim is better ...


5

In practice there is little difference between using an octave clef and a normal clef for these "octave-transposing" instruments. An instrumentalist playing these instruments need not even think about the fact that the music sounds in a different octave to that written; although, of course, players and composers/arrangers should know that the sounding pitch ...


5

You need to hire a professional piano tuner and repair person. It takes an expert with special tools and parts to fix a problem such as this correctly.


4

The humidity (or lack thereof) is a huge part of the equation here. Humidity control is essential for any fine instrument. Proper humidity keeps everything pliable, which in turn allows it to cope with fluctuating temperatures that are standard with winter and indoor heat. In my experience, it is the cheaper instruments (for example cheap acoustic ...


4

Adding to slim's answer, I've seen bridges pulled off acoustic guitars,strings break when not being played, bodies split because the wood has dried out,and necks spiral for the same reason.Some salvageable, some terminal.Apart from causing extra tuning problems, just don't do it. There should be a health warning issued with every new guitar ! One of my ...


4

Curved windways are usually considered to give a more interesting, complex tone quality, but I couldn't give an acoustic reason for this. They're definitely more difficult to produce I've also heard it suggested that a curved windway is superior because it allows condensation to drain to the edges of the windway more easily, where it will interfere less. ...


4

Organ playing requires more legato, learn to slide around the keyboard. Sometimes it helps to change fingers while the note is still held down so that you can move more smoothly to the next note. It's a good exercise for a pianist wanting to get a cleaner legato line.


4

How about various types of concertinas? Here's a link to some fingering charts. And here's just one example of the fingering charts on that page (I hope the page owner won't mind me putting it hereā€¦!)


4

Consider the Swanee Whistle, otherwise known as the Lotus Flute. I'm afraid it is linear, but maybe logarithmic would be a more accurate term, even though it has a cylindrical bore. It certainly fulfills the second criterion, as it relies totally on the player's ear for accurate intonation. Mine's an Ab model.


4

First, the short version of my answer: The ocarina, the fretless banjo, and the cross-tuned fiddle. Only the ocarina is always non-linear, but if you want, you can easily make a string instrument non-linear. Fretless string instruments all require the player to know where the notes are by muscle memory and the sound of the note, so that you are primarily ...



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