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January 31, 2008 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Dead musical instruments... brought back to life by YouTube? Check out this mellotron demo film, a rare trautonium keyboard in some guy's garage, trautonium music by composer Oskar Sala, an original Ondes Martenot, a documentary on the telharmonium (parts 1, 2, and 3), and the Sonovox (used to funny but not-suitable-for-work effect in this parody of Sparky's Magic Piano). Meanwhile, avant-gardists have revived the art of prepared piano, but more mainstream acts such as Tori Amos and Ferrante & Teicher have also experimented with it. Last but not least, another performer of prepared piano is Margaret Leng Tan, but I think she should get more accolades as the best virtuoso of the toy piano since Schroeder from Peanuts.
posted by jonp72 (14 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this. Margaret Leng Tan is awesome (and new to me).
posted by retronic at 4:55 PM on January 31, 2008


I call your attention to a post I made on the Ondes Martenot in December of last year, which in fact includes the same YouTube clip you've linked to here. Not calling this FPP out as a double, though: you've got lots of other links here, and I look forward to exploring them.

Otherwise, jonp72, a suggestion: add the musicalinstrument tag, and join the ever-expanding legion of users of this handy signifier!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:00 PM on January 31, 2008


Those were great, thanks!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 5:10 PM on January 31, 2008


Mellotrons are awesome. While they're completely archaic at this point -- Mellotron samples are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing and plenty more reliable -- they're still being made... in Calgary, of all places.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:13 PM on January 31, 2008


Otherwise, jonp72, a suggestion: add the musicalinstrument tag, and join the ever-expanding legion of users of this handy signifier!

Thanks for the tip. I had a post up ages ago with some bizarre mechanical instruments such as the piatarbajo and cloud-chamber bowls, but that was pre-You Tube and the Metafilter Era B.T. (before tags).
posted by jonp72 at 5:27 PM on January 31, 2008


Nice post, jonp72. Here's the link to his piatarbajo post (I once had a long one man band post that I gave up on, so I had the link saved).

If any of you can find it, I highly recommend Heavenly Sounds in Hi-Fi by Ferrante and Teicher (I used to see it occasionally in thrift stores). It's full of prepared piano, minor-key renditions of standards, and, overall, enough psychedelic flourishes to make it one of my favorite albums.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:26 PM on January 31, 2008


Hey, wow, that Telharmonium documentary is really interesting, and very charmingly put together. So glad you discovered abd posted it, jonp72. I kind of can't believe I'd never heard of this crazy thing til now!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:00 PM on January 31, 2008


Wonderful post!

No Videos found for 'heckelphone'

Really? I didn't think they were that obscure.

Quite a few nice glass harmonica performances, though.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:08 PM on January 31, 2008


There's a nice list of instruments at obsolete.com's 120 years of electronic music, with info on and sometimes mp3s and video of a lot of instruments.

Also, for cortex, here's a stylophone version of "Popcorn".
posted by sleepy pete at 8:44 PM on January 31, 2008


Glee!
posted by cortex at 8:48 PM on January 31, 2008


Did someone say "glass harmonica"? Let Flapjax Industries take care of all your glass (h)armonica needs!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:11 PM on January 31, 2008


Also, since I don't know if it's been here in awhile, here's a link to Audio Playground's Virtual Drum Machine page (the article about synths I linked to earlier is also linked there), with a few links to some keyboards at the bottom. It includes the one keyboard I always loved having, but never used it more than once a year: the Rheem Kee Bass. They aren't necessarily dead, but it's fun to play them just the same.

You will need a flash plugin to get these to work, just in case you were wondering.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:02 PM on January 31, 2008


Speaking of Stylophones, I've got a mint-in-box, never used Stylophone (including instructional phonograph record!) that I'll be breaking in once I can assemble enough batteries to power it.

Also, a friend of mine's got a line on never-used Stylophones, if anybody's interested....
posted by retronic at 12:37 AM on February 1, 2008


Just don't get the rare trautonium keyboard anywhere near the anti-trautonium banjo.
posted by XMLicious at 4:19 AM on February 1, 2008


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