musical instruments


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:

Click here for an orchestral performance of the same piece.

To learn more about how this clever forest xylophone was made watch this behind-the-scenes video:

[via mental_floss]


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”:

Visit the Matryomin ensemble’s YouTube channel for many more videos of the their marvelous performances.

If you’d like a musical Matryoshka of you own, the Matryomin QT is currently available to order via JapanTrendShop.

[via mental_floss and JapanTrendShop]

okay, so the reason the “french horn” emoji is

1. with all the mail emojis and not with the other instruments

and 2. doesn’t look exactly like a modern-day horn

is because it is meant to be a postal horn

which was used (mostly) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to signal the arrival or departure of a post rider or mail coach, hence it’s place with all the mail emojis

this has been an emoji PSA, from a horn player who is tired of people asking why the french horn emoji “has legs”

thank you.

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.

Source: Boston-MFA