Since the taxonomical work of Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs*
in the early twentieth century, organologists have classified musical instruments into four major categories, each distinguished by its primary sound-producing mechanism: idiophones (vibrating body), membranophones (vibrating membrane), chordophones (vibrating strings) and aerophones (vibrating air columns). Beyond these basic divisions, scholars have proposed such logically consistent additions as electrophones (for electronic instruments) and corpophones (for the human body as a source of sound). We propose a seventh category: fictophones, for imaginary musical instruments. Existing as diagrams, drawings or written descriptions, these devices never produce a sound. Yet they are no less a part of musical culture for that. Indeed, fictophones represent an essential if hitherto unrecognized domain of musical thought and activity, and it is in order to catalog these conceptual artifacts that we have established the first institution of its kind: The Museum of Imaginary Musical Instruments
posted by carsonb
on Mar 5, 2014 -
A few months ago there was a list of links to classic video game emulators posted.
Very recently, I'm pleased to report, those links all came true
. The Internet Archive bespoke upon aforementioned consoles, computers, and mileposts on our way to the tech utopia of today, (seriously, where's my flying car?) and they asked us to do something: Imagine every computer that ever existed, literally, in your browser
. And it was so.
I have absolutely no affiliation with jscott
, btw. Thought I should disclose that.
posted by jdaura
on Oct 25, 2013 -
, DIY Electronics
, DIY Guitar
, DIY Synthesizers
, DIY Recording
. Fundamentals of audio
. Optimize your Mac for audio
. Build a music server
. How vacuum tubes work
. Tour a brass instrument factory
. How to maintain your clarinet
. All this and much, much more
at THE ELECTRIC WEB MATRIX
posted by HumanComplex
on Apr 12, 2012 -
If you want to read about the history, construction, sounds and playing techniques of, say, the tympani
, or any other instruments of the classical symphonic orchestra, Vienna Symphonic Library's Instruments Online
pages are good reading and a handy resource for orchestrators.
posted by Wolfdog
on Sep 30, 2011 -
The most famous Steinberger design is the L-series instrument... made entirely of the Steinberger Blend, a proprietary graphite and carbon fiber mix in two pieces: the main body and a faceplate. It had no headstock for tuning, tuning instead at a redesigned tailpiece using micrometer-style tuners and special strings with a ball at both ends.
posted by Trurl
on May 13, 2011 -
do beautiful things with sound and sculpture that are so unique as to defy description
posted by mhjb
on Dec 20, 2010 -
Let's say you're me and you're in math class, and you're supposed to be learning about factoring. Trouble is, your teacher is too busy trying to convince you that factoring is a useful skill for the average person to know with real-world applications ranging from passing your state exams all the way to getting a higher SAT score and unfortunately does not have the time to show you why factoring is actually interesting. It's perfectly reasonable for you to get bored in this situation. So like any reasonable person, you start doodling. [more inside]
posted by ErWenn
on Dec 3, 2010 -
Surely this must be a double, right? I mean, you've got this great and strange program, Addi's Inflatable Minute, and this incredibly strange but somewhat haunting instrument and its all in one You Tube Link
? People don't actually make this sort of content in real life, do they?
posted by Ogre Lawless
on Jan 11, 2008 -
If you're interested in musical instruments from all over the world, Wesleyan University's Virtual Instrument Museum
should not be missed. Instruments are searchable by type
(idiophones, aerophones, etc.), by materials
(wood, bamboo, etc.), or by geographic region
. The photos are very good, and many instruments are represented by excellent MP3 audio clips. And the exhibits
(QTVR movies: drag your mouse to see the instrument from all angles) are wonderful.
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Sep 25, 2006 -
: a family of electronic instruments ‘which hazard unpredictable behaviors and self playing tendencies.’ See, for example, the Alphatron
, the Dual-Primate Console
, and the Courtesy Modulator
. Besides his work as an instrument- and furniture-maker, the Dewanatrons’ co-creator, Brian Dewan
, is a musician
who has collaborated with They Might Be Giants
, among others. He is also a visual artist, who has created numerous filmstrips
, and who was responsible for the ‘flying victrola’ design for the the Neutral Milk Hotel album ‘In The Aeroplane Over the Sea.’
posted by misteraitch
on Apr 21, 2005 -
The piatarbajo, the chromelodeon
, the trimba
, cloud chamber bowls
, the simeon
, the pyrophone
, the virtual rhythmicon
, cigar box guitars
, the skatar
, and all the other assorted instruments by musical visionaries who find guitar, bass, drums, and the symphony orchestra too confining.
posted by jonp72
on Sep 23, 2004 -
The Optigan: OPTIcal orGAN.
Long before synthesizers, ProTools, and Cubase, Mattel released a bizarre contraption called the 'Optigan' which operated by assigning each key to a track on an optical disc on which were recorded sounds of real instruments playing every individual note. This site is one guy's obsession with the instrument that may well be dead and forgotten if not for him. Check out his mp3s
of his own, reasonably successful, band based around the instrument, to see how it sounds.
posted by wackybrit
on Jun 30, 2003 -