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29

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 ...


28

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 ...


20

Yes, it is obvious. A note played "up-bow" sounds discernably different than a note played "down-bow". A string player can also play a series of notes continuously using the same long bowing motion, or the player can "saw" back-and-forth, reversing direction between each note. There are several other kinds of bowing articulation techniques as well. They all ...


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

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 ...


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!


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

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

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

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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


6

The word "arpeggio", loosely translated, is Italian for "like a harp". To sound like a harp requires an instrument that can play chords, where the end of one note still rings out while the next note is being struck. So a monophonic instrument like the trumpet isn't suitable for mimicking the sound of a harp with its overlapping notes ringing out. A piano ...


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

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.


5

What makes this complicated is that different brands of mouthpiece makers use different labeling methods for these characteristics. Generally speaking though, you can make the following deductions: Tip Opening: This is the distance from the tip of the reed to the tip of the mouthpiece (when a reed is in place). The wider the tip opening (or higher the ...


5

Irish whistle (aka pennywhistle aka tin whistle) is not only the easiest to learn, it's also the probably the only musical instrument in the world where you can get a professional level instrument for around US$20. A great starter site for Irish whistle is Chiff and Fipple.


5

Not being a percussionist, when I want to add auxilliary percussion I get an idea in my mind of what sound I want, I go to the store and play the options in my price range until I find the closest thing to whats in my head, and I buy that. On recording aux percussion in general, you want to think about how it will fit with the rest of the sound. The more ...


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

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 here…!)


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 ...


4

A fretless bass (double bass/fretless electric) can be quite a challenge to the ear. You have to be super-accurate with where you place the string on the neck, so as not to get an awfully-oput-of-tune sound. I personally love the sound of a fretless bass, but trying to play one such that it's reliably in tune is a bit of a challenge. OK for the studio (for ...


4

It looks like nowadays the Yamaha Silent Pianos actually hits a sensor instead of a barrier that runs to some kind of digital piano embedded in the system, which plays through headphones. The rod connecting the hammer to the action is stopped by a padded knob. Sounds like it would be "more silent" than the original. I'd still give it a try in a store if you ...


4

All pianos need tone regulation ("voicing") and action regulation from time to time, because of wear on the hammers and other parts. In your case, it's time.


4

A "proper" Bayan runs in its core right hand keyboard from E2 to G7. Using registers with the bass reed would give you E1 to G6. Range in the left hand is E1 to C#6 I think. The lefthand side of most converter accordions actually runs from E1 to C#6. For the right side to have similar range, you need to use a chromatic button accordion however: piano ...


4

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. ...



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