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Thread: Hear Rare String Instruments

  1. #1
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    Default Hear Rare String Instruments

    Hello dear friends!

    I propose to link pictures, descriptions... and hearing samples of unusual string instruments in this thread.

    Other threads exist already for double reeds, single reeds, brass, and more should come for percussions and whatever is desired.

    ==========

    Let's start with a piano almost 6m long. This gives the lowest strings almost the proper length to propagate the sound as fast as air does. Listen especially the low notes here:
    6PI8RYIeypM (prefer a headset or Hi-fi loudspeakers)
    their attack and height are well-defined, better than on usual grand pianos and of course upright pianos.

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    Senior Member Azol's Avatar
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    Well, piano is not the first thing that comes to mind in association with "string instrument"

    Anyway, this is interesting theme, let me offer you the microtonal guitar:

    Handel's Passacaglia on Microtonal Guitar - Arr. David Russell


    Microtonal Bach Experiment 1 - Which Tuning Sounds Better?
    Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068: II. Air


    You can research the rest. Looks (and sounds) mindbending!

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    Long String Instrument.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-string_instrument

    Ellen Fullman


    Alvin Lucier

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    The luthéal is a less common instrument… A historical one is in Brussel's Musée des Instruments de Musique, one built more recently is in Paris' Musée Instrumental, one was built for Daniel Hope, and apparently that's all.

    George Cloetens patented it in 1919 as extra hardware on a piano to change the timbre at will, plus controls available to the pianist.
    And there are records of this instrument, even recently:
    mim.be
    GuiPX6BVSkg at 9:39 (the piece starts at 05:33)
    Two (2) known pieces were written for the luthéal, both by Maurice Ravel, but are commonly played on a normal piano: L'enfant et les sortilèges and Tzigane

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    A note to the OP: Pianos and their variants would not typically be lumped in with stringed instruments. They should either be grouped with other keyboard instruments, or classified as percussion instruments.

    Arpeggione
    This is a fretted instrument with 6 strings that is similar in range and tone to the cello and is typically played with a bow. Many people will know of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata, which is the only well know composition that was written for the instrument. It is typically played on the cello today. According to wiki there has been somewhat of a revival for the instrument in the 21st century with new works being composed for it as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arpeggione

    Here is the 1st movement of the Schubert sonata played on the actual instrument:


    Octobass
    This is an extremely large bowed instrument with 3 strings that was invented in the mid-19th century. It sounds an octave below a normal string bass. One version of the instrument is 3.5 meters, or almost 11 and a half feet tall. To play the instrument, the musician uses a series of levers and pedals to control metal bars that stop the strings at the appropriate point to produce each note. Berlioz was said to have supported the instrument's wide-spread adoption, but he never used it in any of his compositions. The only known work to include it is Gounod's Messe solennelle de Sainte-Cecile, in which it is used in the Benedictus and Agnus Dei sections. Today the instrument can mainly be found in museums, though the Montreal Symphony Orchestra does own one.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octobass

    "The longest-lived and those who die soonest lose the same thing. The present is all they can give up, since that is all you have, and what you do not have, you cannot lose." --Marcus Aurelius

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    All Internet pages claim that the octo-basse sounds an octave below the bowed contrabass, but I doubt this was the initial intent. Authors contemporary to Vuillaume (was it Berlioz? I don't remember where I read it) report the same height as the contrabass.

    This would be pretty logical. The contrabass is already low enough, as most people don't perceive its height properly. Strings less short would also sound better and react faster than on the usual contrabass (whose strings are exactly as short as on a bass guitar). Table, bottom and box less small would also sound better for the contrabass height.

    Or instead of growing all dimensions of a contrabass, we would need a redesign, with smaller overall dimensions for the same string length, and a more efficient table.

    ==========

    I'm pleased with the piano among the string instruments. It sounds less well without its strings.

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    Yaybahar by Görkem Şen

    This is one of my favourite experimental music instruments.


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    Senior Member Fugal's Avatar
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    How about the viola organista? Designed by da Vinci, it looks like a keyboard instrument, but it bows the strings rather than hammering or plucking them.



    Here's a recital/lecture on the instrument:



    I have his CD and love it!
    Last edited by Fugal; Jul-01-2020 at 17:10.

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    You can hear the existing Glockenklavier, Wagner's attempt to implement the Gralsglocken, at
    qUfo1szjPIc
    pcpkp13juVA at 0:30 to 1:24, younger version with mallets, and
    dF1zz6F4aIA an other with mallets
    3mNMUNJIS3Q at 0:30, 1:00, 1:31 and 1:48 older version with keyboard.
    Wagner failed to propose an instrument to fit the task (church bells lower than the Stephansdom) and so did the followers. All these string instruments with wooden table sound like a piano, not like a bell, and they aren't loud enough. Many other combinations were tried, some resemble a bell better, none is really loud behind a big orchestra.

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