Today we learned that gravity is a fine musician. A team of Japanese filmmakers constructed an incredibly long wooden xylophone along a steady slope in the middle of a beautiful forest in Kyushu in southern Japan. Once the awesome instrument was built and carefully tuned a wooden ball was released at the very top. As the ball rolls down the xylophone it strikes each wooden bar once, producing a single note, performing Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring“ accompanied by the gentle sounds of a peaceful forest:
Matryoshka dolls are already more than they seem, simply because each exquisite dolls contains another, smaller doll. But in Japan some of these nesting dolls have an even bigger secret: their inner dolls have been replaced with electronics, turning them into some of the cutest, strangest theramins we’ve ever seen called the Matryomin QT. Designed by Japanese thereminist Masami Takeuchi, each handmade Matryoshka contains a miniature pitch-only theramin. No two instruments are exactly alike.
A group of talented musicians in Japan, the Matryomin ensemble, have mastered this unusual instrument and use it to perform familiar pieces of music that sound like nothing you’ve ever heard when played on little wooden dolls. What’s more, because they don’t actually need to touch the Matryomin in order to play them, they all look like magicians conjuring up unearthly sounds out of the air. Here you can watch them perform Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”:
Baritones - Barelytones
Barisax - barelysax
Saxophones - Slaxaphones
Flutes - Fluties
Oboe - Oblow
Trombones - Bones ( He never calls them trombones)
Tubas - he just makes fun of them
Percussion - Concussion
Adagio (c.1929). Georges Antoine van Zevenberghen (Belgian 1877-1956). Oil on canvas.
In a slow tempo, or adagio, the ladies play music and sing. The lady on the left plays the piano, and a double bass is in the foreground, presumably to be played by the second lady. The bust of a composer, perhaps Beethoven, gives inspiration to the two ladies.
Omnitonic Horn, ca. 1833 Charles-Joseph Sax (Brussels, Belgium, 1790-1865)
- Materials: Brass - Length: 65 cm - Other Notes: The inside of this bell is lacquered dark cherry-red with trophies and flowers in gold. These horns would either attach all the necessary crooks to the instrument individually or in a successive, compensating system. Manually engaging a switching system – a “tap” – allows the key changes. This horn’s system range allows it to play from B-flat Basso up to a B-flat Alto key.