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Your UNfavorite instrument & why

number 6 21 Nov 07 - 10:33 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 07 - 06:36 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 07 - 06:36 PM
kendall 21 Nov 07 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 21 Nov 07 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 21 Nov 07 - 03:48 PM
PoppaGator 21 Nov 07 - 03:25 PM
Desert Dancer 21 Nov 07 - 03:18 PM
PoppaGator 21 Nov 07 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Tom 21 Nov 07 - 02:02 PM
Roger the Skiffler 20 Nov 07 - 09:13 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 20 Nov 07 - 07:43 AM
fogie 20 Nov 07 - 06:49 AM
Mooh 19 Nov 07 - 09:15 PM
Jack Campin 19 Nov 07 - 07:54 PM
BixB 19 Nov 07 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 19 Nov 07 - 05:36 PM
PoppaGator 19 Nov 07 - 05:33 PM
kendall 19 Nov 07 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Songster Bob 19 Nov 07 - 03:57 PM
Fidjit 19 Nov 07 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Nov 07 - 01:36 PM
Grab 19 Nov 07 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Nov 07 - 01:35 AM
oggie 18 Nov 07 - 04:57 PM
Don Firth 18 Nov 07 - 04:36 PM
kendall 18 Nov 07 - 04:08 PM
wyogal 18 Nov 07 - 04:00 PM
theleveller 18 Nov 07 - 03:34 PM
Don Firth 18 Nov 07 - 02:38 PM
Whistlepenny 18 Nov 07 - 02:30 PM
Tradsinger 18 Nov 07 - 02:26 PM
Fidjit 18 Nov 07 - 02:17 PM
Don Firth 18 Nov 07 - 02:11 PM
Ythanside 18 Nov 07 - 01:28 PM
Mooh 18 Nov 07 - 01:17 PM
Don Firth 18 Nov 07 - 12:58 PM
Gern 18 Nov 07 - 12:20 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 07 - 11:55 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 07 - 11:54 AM
Mikefule 18 Nov 07 - 11:17 AM
Mikefule 18 Nov 07 - 11:16 AM
number 6 18 Nov 07 - 11:05 AM
number 6 18 Nov 07 - 11:03 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Nov 07 - 10:55 AM
Liz the Squeak 18 Nov 07 - 10:34 AM
Doug Chadwick 18 Nov 07 - 09:25 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 07 - 09:20 AM
wysiwyg 18 Nov 07 - 09:12 AM
RangerSteve 18 Nov 07 - 08:51 AM
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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: number 6
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 10:33 PM

Kendall ... point well stated. A good musician can make the worst of instruments sound good.

biLL


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 06:36 PM

ioo100,sorry lead fingersLOL


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 06:36 PM

The English Concertina,Because I believe I am changing into one.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: kendall
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 03:53 PM

Jed Marum could get a nice tune out of a sack of crowbars.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 03:50 PM

Addendum for Guest: Tom

Perhaps the highly specialized orificial Irish flute to which you refer could provide an appropriate accompaniment for Bowser and Blue's "Workin' Where the Sun Don't Shine" song in praise of the colorectal surgeon.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 03:48 PM

I would have selected pan pipes until I heard them played in the context of a Peruvian folk group. It can be a rather pleasing, haunting sound, in the right hands.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 03:25 PM

Yes, Becky, now that you mention it (and showed us the pictures), Jed has one of those banjolas.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 03:18 PM

PoppaGator,

Without having seen or heard it, as you describe it it's probably a "banjola" that Jed plays, not a mando-banjo.

The banjola (which I think is a Gold Tone original instrument) does make a pretty sound. The mando-banjo is something else. ;-) 'Course then there's the banjo-uke...

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 02:40 PM

"suppository-flute"?!?!?!?! Hah!

Is the banjo-mandolin everyone seems to dislike the same instrument Jed Marum plays? His instrument has a wooden body like a mandolin (or bouzouki or guitar, etc.), and is strung like a 5-string banjo, including the short drone string. He is able to coax some pretty wonderful sounds out of it, and he seems to feel that it's his best option for some of his songs...


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 21 Nov 07 - 02:02 PM

The Irish suppository-flute, better known as the flageolet or tin-whistle takes some beating in terms of irritation. Like any instrument, results of great beauty can be achieved by a skilled and discerning player but such are too few and far between to justify even the existence of an instrument which mostly produces no more than a pointless and offensive twittering. The only logical course of action, in my opinion, is to impose a cripplingly large tax on the sale and purchase of them, thus discouraging all but the most serious of musicians from ownership. Luckily, they usually bend without undue force, and/or can be fitted into most bodily orifices, often without the use of a hammer, though beef or pork dripping can be an enormous help.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 20 Nov 07 - 09:13 AM

I've always assumed it was my voice, looks and unpleasant personality that put people off. perhaps it was the washboard, kazoo & spoons instead (as well!).

RtS
"I've emptied bigger rooms than this"


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 20 Nov 07 - 07:43 AM

The comments about the banjo-mandolin have set my mind at rest:

I inherited one that belonged to an uncle of my father - he played it in a band in Hull in the 1920s. However, I have never managed to get on with it as it always sounds like an old bedstead whatever servicing, restringing etc I have done. Maybe I'll just hang it on the wall now.

Roger


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: fogie
Date: 20 Nov 07 - 06:49 AM

What about flutes- like recorders even the best players can be sweet but the notes are more monotonous-sounding to my ears than other woodwind, perhaps the worst offender of this would be the panpipes. To my ear the oboe/ cor anglais is very expressive ,as I believe also is the sop sax and the clarinet. The Irish Pipes are also remarkably evocative, in comparison with the other bagpipes. Flutes can be played remarkably fast in comparison with many other wind, and although they can sound ethereal I cant feel much emotion behind the sound. Tenor banjos are also totally expressionless but I think of them as a partly percussive.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Mooh
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 09:15 PM

So Jack, tell us how you really feel. LOL!

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 07:54 PM

Acoustic guitars. Think of the range of different kinds of music they can fuck up:

- Segovia demonstrating why Bach preferred to write for just about *anything* else rather than have his melodic lines reduced to a blurry confused mess

- innumerable Russians playing technical studies with a phenomenal number of notes per second, half of them using harmonics and none of which contribute to any sense of tonal direction

- almost every solo folksinger demonstrating that wrapping yourself in haze of chordal rumbling like an acoustic security blanket is a great way to fool yourself that the mumbling monody you're coming out with is really a tune

- people like Renbourn demonstrating that there is a damn good reason why traditional British Isles dance music was developed on instruments that can play it in a danceable rhythm

- people accompanying traditional music with bizarre jazz harmonies and pseudo-African rhythms that have nothing recognizably to do with the tune

- people like Leo Kottke developing whole new genres of such consciousness-annihilating tedium that their only conceivable purpose is tranquillizing large predators when you don't have a fentanyl gun handy

It's got a real purpose in flamenco. That's *it*.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: BixB
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 06:24 PM

The Bassoon during the first year that my son was learning to play it. It usually sounded like someone was strangling a canada goose in the music room.
Thankfully however, three years later I listen to him playing an instrument that can best be described as hauntingly beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 05:36 PM

I agree most wholeheartedly with Don Firth that it is, first of all, the player, much more than the instrument. I don't care for the ukelele, but I have heard some virtuoso performances on it (rarely). What I loathe is synthesized music and, most particularly, electronic drums. They put me in mind of the old jazz musician's take on Disco, when it was in vogue: "Rhythm & Blues for people who have neither."


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: PoppaGator
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 05:33 PM

Sarusaphone?

At first I thought Bill D was objecting to the sousaphone, and I was ready to counter-object in defense of one of my favorite instruments. But then I took a closer look and decided to Google "sarusaphone" to see if anything turned up.

I was given a number of links, and learned that the original idea for the intrument was to create a double-reed woodwind that would be louder than an oboe and thus fit for outdoor performance, especially in marching bands. Sarusaphones were designed and made in varous sizes, with a variety of tonal ranges.

However, before long, manufacturers began marketing single-reed sarusaphones, because many more people know how to play single-reed than double-reed instruments.

This instrument was developed/"invented" at about the same time as the saxophone, and Mr. Sax (yes, there was such a person) sued ~ unsuccessfully ~ for patent infringement.

He apparently thought the sarusaphone was ianppropriately similar to his eponymous brass/woodwing invention. I would presume that the original double-reed sarusaphone would not have prompted the lawsuit, but that the single-reed variation was seen as insufficiently different from a sax.

What I was NOT able to find was any kind of picture. I'm curious...


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: kendall
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 04:41 PM

I found myself in a restaurant in Fort William Scotland back in 1988, and they had a Highland piper . I asked him if he knew "The Dark Island". He did and he played it. It was a very large place so the sound of the pipes didn't cause any hearing loss. That was one of the fond memories that I have of my first trip to Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 03:57 PM

I can't think of a single instrument that -- in its place -- qualifies a 'unfavorite.' Most instruments, well-played, are all right in their place, and can even be, as someone here said, 'hair-raising.'


I can stand the dulcimer, the fiddle, the guitar (6-, 9- and 12-string), the Hawaiian guitar and Dobro, the banjo (tenor or 5-string), the ukulele, the mandolin (with and without the banjo part), even the guitar-banjo, an even-more-unsuccessful marriage than the banjo-mandolin; the sax (even Hassan Roland-Kirk and his three at once playing), the bodhran, the bongo, the dumbeck, the full-kit drum set; the piano, harpsichord, organ, synthesizer, calliope, and carrilon; the French, English, and other nations' horns, oboes, bassoons, and even the bombard (the latter playing 'over the hill and far away,' of course).

Then again, 'unfavorite' could mean 'the one I don't like to hear more than once a year (or decade),' in which case, I think for me it would be highland warpipes (not to be confused with Northumbrian small-pipes or uilleann pipes or whatever -- even Bulgarian ones can be OK in limited amounts). But warpipes are a once-a-decade thing for me, and it should be even longer if the tune is either 'Amazing Grace' or 'Scotland the Brave.' I could make an exception, though for 'Nut Brown Maiden,' but that's just a reference to an obscure British film we love in our house.

If I didn't mention your en-favorite or favorite or ambivalent-to instrument, tough. Make your own list.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Fidjit
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 01:52 PM

As a re-think on my previous post. It really relates to an instrument, or rather two indtruments being used badly, but the effect is still the same.

Been waiting for someone to put this on here.

Someone playing on the linoleum!

Although step dancing or clog is ok.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 01:36 PM

You are mistaken. I can play songs in D and in A on mine, and the use of G or G# or (C or C# on the bass string) makes many trad songs possible. Using the same tuning, I can also play mildly bluesy songs.

I can also tune in D-A-G and play minor songs.

Others play in D-A-C, but I haven't even explored that tuning yet.

I agree that it not an instrument loud enough for ensembles, but it provides plenty of variation and pleasure in a quiet environment. I have a list of over 165 songs that I play on so-called Appalalchian dulcimer, ranging from Salve Regina to 'Since I Met You Baby.'

As for 'tinny buzz-and-twang,' you probably have not heard good instruments.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Grab
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 04:33 AM

Appalachian dulcimer.

To assist the player, the frets only cover a major scale, a decision I can only assume is because the player can't handle the mental challenge of chromatic frets. So everyone has to play in the dulcimer's key if you want to give them a go, and even then the lack of chromatics usually means there's somewhere in the tune (especially on British Isles folk tunes that go modal in places) where everyone else is playing a semitone away from the dulcimer. There's only one melody string, so the only way of playing a tune is sliding up and down in search of the note. And its body size and shape limits it to the tinny buzz-and-twang of a Martin Backpacker. Thankfully it's also limited to the volume of a Martin Backpacker, so you can fairly easily drown it out with people who can play real instruments.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Nov 07 - 01:35 AM

My least favorite is the saxophone. The sound wobbles a lot around any given pitch. Plus there's a tradition of abusing the instrument and the human ear by overblowing it once in every tune.

I do not consider the bowed psaltery a sincere attempt to make a musical instrument. It's merely a curiosity.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: oggie
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 04:57 PM

Show my age here. There should be a spot in musical hell reserved for the "Stylophone".

For an affordable Alto Psaltery check out www.thomann.de follow the links through traditional instruments/western. Be warned this site will get you buying stuff you didn't know you needed!

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 04:36 PM

In Donizetti's opera Lucia de Lammermoor, based on the novel, "The Bride of Lammermoor" by Sir Walter Scott (in the opera, you have guys wandering around in kilts and singing in Italian), the big tour de force for the soprano (Lucia) is the "mad scene." Long, varied aria in which the lady really works to earn her nickel. Along with the orchestra as usual, the most prominent instrument accompanying her voice is a flute.

In one legendary performance, the flute was replaced by a glass harmonica. Very eerie!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: kendall
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 04:08 PM

How about the glass harmonica? Interesting, but a little goes a long way.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: wyogal
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 04:00 PM

I've played in an orchestra that used a real cannon for "1812" and was really nervous about the two very pregnant violinists that sat towards the back, next to the percussion. No worries, though, they weren't startled into early delivery.
not a fan of artificailly produced "acoustic" sounds: drum machine, synth strings, etc...


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 03:34 PM

Right now, the cittern - I just can't seem to get the bloody thing in tune today.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 02:38 PM

The Theremin. Very effective in 1950s science fiction movies. I have a friend who got one recently and is teaching himself how to play it. But so far, he's been reluctant to bring it around. But I can be patient. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Whistlepenny
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 02:30 PM

Badly-played concertinas en masse can sound like the mating season at Slimbridge wildfowl centre.

The bowed psaltery definitely wins out though. It must be the inspiration of the Theremin, probably the nadir of 20th century musical achievement.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Tradsinger
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 02:26 PM

I think the answer is that any instrument played well is listenable to, yes even banjos, accordeons, Scottish bagpipes and gurdies, and I have heard virtuoso players on each of these that can send a shiver up the spine.   What is painful is to hear someone in public playing out of tune/badly, etc. It would be better if they went back and practised more or listened more to themselves before inflicting others to the sound.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Fidjit
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 02:17 PM

Two women talking in each others face on the radio
(er perhaps thats two instruments)
Makes me reach for the off switch though.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 02:11 PM

Yeah, I've heard good bongo-players from time to time. But in Seattle's Pamir House, where I sang often, we ran into the other kind a lot. Pamir House was kind of a hole, but it was a neat place to sing. There were usually two or three, sometimes four singers up front most of the time, and we'd alternate songs, sing impromptu duets and trios (usually unrehearsed, but they generally came off pretty well), and play off each other, complete with wisecracks and by-play. Nothing planned ahead of time, just off-the-cuff. It was like singing at a party, and the audiences loved it.

We guys and gals up front were on the payroll, but the informality of it gave some folks the idea that it was a free-for-all. This attracted a lot of kids who came in with bongos (a way for the non-musician to participate), and they'd try to bonk, thump, and bang along with the singers, much to the irritation of the singers and the rest of the audience. Once John Timmons, the proprietor of the place, became aware of the presence of yet another kid with a set of bongos, he'd come out of the kitchen and ask them politely but firmly to cease and desist.

Don Firth

P. S. 'Course, in some performances of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," in the finale, they use real cannon. Fairly impressive!


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Ythanside
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 01:28 PM

ANY instrument/s played at white-noise volume, a technique favoured by incompetents using decibels to batter the audience into submission.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Mooh
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 01:17 PM

Don...Bongos? In the hands of a pro they're fantastic, but usually they seem reserved for the incompetent.

Number 6...Turntables? Wouldn't have thought of this one, such memories are better left suppressed. I'd rather whole orchestras of cowbells and bombards.

It generally seems I prefer instruments that have an acoustic equivalent.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 12:58 PM

I'm amazed! We've come this far and no one has mentioned

BONGOS

This—or these—are a device invented by Satan which allows those with neither musical talent nor a sense of rhythm to participate in musical events and torment real musicians, goading them into committing a mortal sin by horribly murdering the bongo player in a back alley somewhere. But where Satan's play goes awry is that murdering a bongo player is regarded by the minions of Heaven as a blessed act, not unlike St. Patrick's driving the serpents out of Ireland.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Gern
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 12:20 PM

Have we really gotten this far without mention of the tambourine? This personal annoyance of mine can drown out a stadium-sized rock band, and is rarely seen in competent hands. It is for often the prop for the instrumentally-challenged, and in the hands of someone without a sense of rhythm it is downright dangerous. If tambourines were made illegal, only criminals would have them.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 11:55 AM

Ah- that was addressed to Magrath.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 11:54 AM

Only if we can have Tippi Hedren in it


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Mikefule
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 11:17 AM

Typo! A single melodeon "played" well, not "plated".

Although some people might prefer the idea of plating one!


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Mikefule
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 11:16 AM

Three or more of anything in a session, but especially three or more melodeons.

Someone once said, "I never heard a tune palyed on ten melodeons that wouldn't have sounded better on one."

A single melodeon, plated well, or two played together, sensitively, can be great.

Hurdy gurdies can grate after the first twenty minutes.

Kendall: the Saxophone may often sound like a kazoo. For an example of it not sounding like a kazoo, listen to the late Paul Desmond (played with Dave Brubeck, and made an album with MJQ). It's not "Mudcat" music, but it's a beautiful smooth melodeous honeyed sound.


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: number 6
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 11:05 AM

... and I should add 'turntables' ... for those that believe this is a musical instrument.

biLL


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: number 6
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 11:03 AM

Cheap 'electronic' keyboards.

biLL


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 10:55 AM

a marauding flock of gulls pecking a bagpiper to death.

That might be quite entertaining...


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 10:34 AM

Ah, school nativity plays... we're in a whole new ballgame here...

I have sat through many a school concert where members of the various instrument families have been submitted to what can only be called torture. The noises they were creating would have done credit to a marauding flock of gulls pecking a bagpiper to death. Philip Glass would have been proud of them.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 09:25 AM

Different instruments in different circumstances ....

I'm sure there is nothing more stirring than being led into battle by the highland pipes but I can live without a single piper paying a lament from the castle walls.

Also, as a father of four, I've been to enough nativity plays and Christmas concerts never to wish to be present for the combination of the year six recorder group and "The Snowman".

DC


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 09:20 AM

Ah, oops, I should have said "Folksong singers".


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 09:12 AM

High-pitched recorders played loudly and incessantly, solo, or overly loud in a session instead of being played as a small part of the whole.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Your UNfavorite instrument & why
From: RangerSteve
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 08:51 AM

The only time I ever heard highland pipes indoors was in an arena. It was the Black Watch, and it was pretty stirring. But I can imagine what they're like in close quarters. What bothers me about them, however, is the fact that when they get to playing "Scotland, the Brave", they can't reach the high note in the B part. And the note they do hit doesn't seem to be even in harmony with the right one.

But nothing comes close to the French pipe, I don't know the exact name, but it's a small, shrill (shrill, as in "IF IT DOESN'T STOP NOW I'M GOING TO COMMIT MASS MURDER AND NOT FEEL ANY REMORSE STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT GODDAMN IT SON OF A BITCH GET IT AWAY GET IT AWAY AUGGGGHHH -SOund of my head exploding). And the tunes played on it are completely incomprehensible, at least to my American ears. The first time I heard one was as a kid, messing with my brother's multi=band radio. I thought I'd managed to get a station from another planet. (Really). Just thinking about it makes me BOOM SPLAT


Sorry, folks, but Steve's head just expoded.


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