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Re: Asian instruments

Don't forget the Northern Africa (arabesque) double reeds.  Talk about a
nice buzzy sound!  And real African marimbas usually have a paper-like
covering over the resonator tubes which rattles like a kazoo.

Dennis Leas

-----Original Message-----
From: James Pokorny <j.pokorny@worldnet.att.net>
To: Loopers-Delight@annihilist.com <Loopers-Delight@annihilist.com>
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 9:25 PM
Subject: Re: Asian instruments

>>Incidentally, the sounds of the sitar, kanun and other indian stringed
>>instruments tend to be come less exotic when processed with modulation,
>>and filtering.  Afterall, the sympathetic strings and and buzz timbres of
>>instruments are really analog, accoustic versions of filtering, and
>>Consequently, I tend to utilize these timbres as is in my own loop based
>I couldn't agree with you more.  Between the specialized "buzzing" jawari
>bridges and sympathetic strings (as well as the skin faces of instruments
>like sarod, sarangi, and dilruba) the Indian instruments seem to have
>incorporated pre-electronic "signal processing."  Any additional effects
>really do tend to mask their natural timbres.
>This brings up a point about "sound worlds" among the various musical
>cultures throughout the world.  In India there's a definite tendency
>overtone-rich, twangy sounds that are generally considered undesirable in
>western music (especially in classical music).  At a sitar workshop I was
>giving once, someone asked me "Why does your instrument sound like a bad
>guitar?"  This floored me!  It does, when you think about it.  But that's 
>sound quality which is pleasant to Indian ears.  Similarly, in many 
>musical cultures, instruments are equipped with "sizzle mechanisms" such 
>cowrie shells, bottlecaps, jingling metal rings, etc. to add an extra
>dimension to the overall sound of the instruments.  Whereas in the western
>tradition we've generally preferred clean and clear sounds from our
>instruments.  It's nice to see that this is changing, and that "noise" can
>also be incorporated into music.  I've even heard tell of Appalachian
>musicians placing rattlesnake rattles inside their instruments to improve
>the sound!
>It don't mean a thang if it ain't got that twang!
>Really enjoying the input of everyone on the list.