15 votes

Possible list of motivations for playing an instrument (by hand)

What is the advantage (of playing by hand)? Expression. How much space is between the first and second notes? How much space between the second and third? Which of those three notes is the loudest?...
  • 15.6k
14 votes

Blondie's Heart of Glass shimmering cascade effect

To my ears, that's a synth filter sweep. It's a whole bunch of high harmonics of a midrange synth chord, with a resonant filter sweeping through them. You could approximate that sound with a large ...
  • 199
12 votes

Possible list of motivations for playing an instrument (by hand)

Can't you just try out your tunes via a computer interface and play them when you want? Then what is the difference? The difference is the same as that between playing NBA on the Playstation or XBox ...
  • 5,493
9 votes
Accepted

What do you call this type of guitar?

These are all resonator guitars. The bridge bears on a spun metal cone inside the body of the guitar that projects the sound (similar to how the head of a banjo works). The guitarists in the second ...
  • 2,347
8 votes

Blondie's Heart of Glass shimmering cascade effect

I agree that it's a filter sweep. (Briefly, you vary the cutoff frequency of a filter on the fly - which removes/restores the top or bottom part of the sound spectrum - and the filter resonance. ...
7 votes

Blondie's Heart of Glass shimmering cascade effect

As others have said, this is a filter sweep on a synthesizer. The fundamental pitch of the chord tones does not change, so a glissando is not a good facsimile. There are a few natural acoustic ...
  • 2,347
7 votes
Accepted

What's the earliest known example of music written for an electronic instrument?

TL;DR Theremin is considered the first electronic instrument in terms of the modern development of such instruments. The first piece composed specifically for Theremin was Andrey Pashchenko's "...
  • 65.9k
6 votes

Diatonic harmonica: How to play the draw bend with the three semitones down (effectively)?

The best method for teaching bends I know of is to imagine drinking through a straw. In normal play, you softly drink water. To bend, you don't need to draw much harder, but you change the drink to ...
  • 575
5 votes
Accepted

Learning cello fingerings without owning one

Well, I suppose you could mock up a cello fingerboard on a yardstick or the like. You could mark off the distance between fingers, and practice getting used to the distances. You can buy a decal that'...
  • 9,907
5 votes

Blondie's Heart of Glass shimmering cascade effect

Sounds like a Solina string ensemble through a mono phaser. There's a stem-by-stem breakdown of Heart of Glass here. This video suggests that it's a polymoog rather than a string ensemble.
  • 9,799
5 votes
Accepted

Why are band instruments built in flat keys?

One reason is probably that trombones used to be pitched in A and D, with A at roughly 466 Hz, and the pitch standard changed around them. The same would apply to other wind instruments as well. See ...
  • 15.6k
4 votes

Keyboard where each key has pitch bend?

Although the question probably has electronic instruments in mind, it doesn't specify it, so: there is an acoustic keyboard that can do pitch-bend: the clavichord. Its key is simply a long lever; ...
  • 9,907
4 votes
Accepted

Keyboard where each key has pitch bend?

You may want to have look at the Seaboard Rise 2. Each key is sensitive to pressure, to up/down-movements and to left-right-movements. I never touched one, but according the manufacturer the left-...
  • 475
4 votes

Blondie's Heart of Glass shimmering cascade effect

Could be made in several ways. A very slow use of a wah pedal, or a phaser set at a slow speed, or as KFW says, made using a filter with a synth. Any of those would work. Failing that, try a coiled ...
  • 180k
3 votes
Accepted

Can mayonnaise actually be a good instrument?

Just to be pedantic, the instrument on the video is a sampler in a DAW, and the "mayonnaise" part is a heavily processed sample of slapping a blob of mayonnaise on table. Usually "...
  • 1,995
3 votes

Possible list of motivations for playing an instrument (by hand)

There is a great difference between playing piano by hand and writing for piano on a computer (I do both). It's much easier to write down things on the computer but the recorded sound is different. ...
  • 23.5k
3 votes

Possible list of motivations for playing an instrument (by hand)

There are three components: Ability for a computer to reproduce a sound of an instruments. This is done using virtual instrument, which developed a lot last years. It is certainly possible for a ...
  • 13.2k
2 votes

What is the correct name for this instrument?

The instrument shown is called a cimbasso, an instrument basically created by Verdi as something similar to the contrabass trombone. It's pretty rare!
2 votes

Can I produce music with code and without instruments?

In addition to all the answers, I would also point out the two systems (there are more) for writing music notation: ABC notation, and Lilypond With these, you write plain-text files containing the ...
  • 1,114
2 votes

Why do snare players only have one drum?

I'm not a percussion player. Hopefully you get an answer from an experienced percussionist or band director. My first thought was along the lines of Andy Bonner's comment: the snare drum may get the ...
2 votes
Accepted

What are the key factors for any composer to select instrument for a song?

It depends. Different instruments can create different moods (strings are great for romantic parts, french horn or trumpet can be great for loud and dramatic parts and a piano can create all kinds of ...
  • 752
2 votes

Keyboard where each key has pitch bend?

Look to instruments compatible with MPE and you should find a list of instruments with this capability. For example, the Osmose keyboard, or the Continnum
2 votes

Can I start playing on this clarinet?

This is a standard Boehm system B-flat clarinet (also known as French system). If it works properly you can start playing on it right away. Check that all the keys move and the pads look as if they ...
  • 16k
2 votes
Accepted

What is a "bass xylophone"?

According to Italian Wikipedia (translation by Google) The instrument has a [range] that goes from G2 to G4, and [although] the notation for the instrument is [in] bass clef, ... the instrument plays ...
  • 65.9k
2 votes

Possible list of motivations for playing an instrument (by hand)

With modern technology, it's pretty easy to just type some words on your phone and have a computer voice read them. Given that, why do people still speak words using their mouths? What's the advantage?...
2 votes

Why don't all transposing instruments have transposing clefs?

Much of it is a historical accident. Different instruments were invented at different times in different places. Usually, a transposing instrument was tuned in a key that physically fit the instrument ...
  • 23.5k
1 vote

Can I start playing on this clarinet?

It looks complete - all it needs is a reed fitting. Be careful - they're quite easy to damage. Without handling (and playing) it, it's impossible to say what it'll be like, but it's certainly worth a ...
  • 180k
1 vote

Keyboard where each key has pitch bend?

The ondes Martenot has this feature. The keys move laterally to provide a pitch vibrato; see around 9:00 in the above-linked video for a demonstration. (Cynthia ...
1 vote

Pocket instruments?

Harmonica Slide whistle Sopranino recorder (~20cm: Wikipedia) Various high-pitches whistles, flutes, recorders, and pipes Mbira (Wikipedia) might work depending on the pocket's width and depth. Jew's ...

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