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Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone

Mrrzy 08 Jan 21 - 02:06 PM
leeneia 08 Jan 21 - 02:52 PM
Mrrzy 08 Jan 21 - 04:13 PM
GUEST 08 Jan 21 - 04:46 PM
Mrrzy 08 Jan 21 - 05:13 PM
leeneia 08 Jan 21 - 07:01 PM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 21 - 01:12 AM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 21 - 10:17 AM
leeneia 09 Jan 21 - 11:13 AM
Richard Mellish 10 Jan 21 - 05:39 AM
Mrrzy 10 Jan 21 - 05:25 PM
Mrrzy 26 Jan 21 - 01:26 PM
punkfolkrocker 29 Jan 21 - 11:00 AM
Mrrzy 29 Jan 21 - 03:09 PM
Mrrzy 29 Jan 21 - 03:40 PM
Mrrzy 29 Jan 21 - 07:23 PM
Jack Campin 29 Jan 21 - 08:13 PM
punkfolkrocker 29 Jan 21 - 09:12 PM
Mrrzy 30 Jan 21 - 03:46 PM
leeneia 02 Feb 21 - 01:23 PM
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Subject: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 02:06 PM

My 2021 resolution is to learn *an* instrument, to accompany myself on the Singarounds. I don't read music or grok keys so I figure a simple higher-righter lower-lefter might work.
Advice? Those of you who know my voice from the Singarounds, especially?
Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 02:52 PM

If you don't know keys or chords, the best thing is a percussion instrument. Why not form a resolution to learn to read music? It's not hard.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 04:13 PM

No desire to. Took music for 10 years in French school, that was enough. Besides, all I want to learn to play are the songs I already know... I want to learn to go from heard sung note to heard played note, not from eye to note. To learn a new song, I listen to it, and memorize it, then sing it. So I never need to read music. Topic for a separate queation, that.

So, anyway, I just spent a while in a music store. Apparently I will want a xylo rather than a metallo as the metal one I tried played way too high for how low I sing. I could get one and only play the bottom but that seemed silly. What the helpful staff [get it?] showed me was something called a bell set, which looked perfect, just like a 2-layer xylophone with maybe 2 octaves, but the sound, like I said, way too high.

Are there such things as bass (or at least way lower) bell sets?


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 04:46 PM

Bass Xylophone


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 05:13 PM

That is gorgeous, Guest, thanks.

Any recommendations for how to try these out? I am reluctant to buy online sound unheard.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 07:01 PM

You don't wish to accompany yourself in the sense that a folk guitarist accompanies a singer by using chords. You want to duplicate the melody you are singing, is that right?

If so, how about an Orff xylophone or a mini-electric piano. The piano will allow you much more freedom.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 01:12 AM

Bingo, and I have seen the name Orff in my perusals. Thanks.

I can't believe it took me this long to find out what the xylo meant.

And what about vibraphones, which my spellchecker wants to change to vibrators? Had a friend with one of those. It was wooden but he said vibra and it was his instrument...

I never argue with what men call their instruments.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 10:17 AM

Wait why are vibraphones thousands of dollars and the xylo- and metallophones mere hundreds?


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 11:13 AM

Possibly because of the time needed to shape the individual wooden bars and get them in tune.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 05:39 AM

Anyone wondering what intrument to take up should if at all possible find an opportunity to try various kinds. Depending on your previous experience (if any) and on how your brain is wired up, you are likely to find some kinds much easier than others. I dabbled with various kinds in my childhood and youth before settling on one kind to stick with.

For song accompaniment, a further consideration is that the instrument must be able to be played quietly enough not to smother the words. Many singers focus too much on the instrument and not enough on making their words clearly audible. I still find that aspect challenging with my choice of instruments, which are Anglo concertinas.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 05:25 PM

Good points, Richard Mellish.

In big cities are there music stores one can try out several instruments in?


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Jan 21 - 01:26 PM

Ok. There is a Suzuki alto xylophone at one of my local stores. It comes *in* a key, with the ability to switch a slat out and have 2 other keys.

I do not have a clue what keys I sing in. Does anybody from the Singaround know? I know I *have* sung in G, because someone told me they could tell I was a folkie because the song I was singing then was, apparently, in G.

But there was the time I sang a song in what was to me the exact same way and apparently sang it in 3 different keys...

So, help? Thanks! Imma cross-post part of this question to the Singaround thread.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 11:00 AM

Before you commit $$$..

Have you considered the Autoharp...???

An ideal easy to learn affordable traditional folk singer's accompaniment instrument...


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 03:09 PM

Great advice, pfr, but I have already gone beyond...

I am now the proud owner of a suzuki alto xylophone. It can do 3 keys, C, G and something with a flat in it. It is beautiful, in my voice range, and vaguely portable.

MOREOVER, yesterday a musical friend came by and taught me some things.

First, that whatever note the guitar would first come in on, were someone accompanying me, is the key, in all likelihood. So if I sing There was a LAAAAAAAAdy and a lady gay, I am probably singing in the key of whatever note I sing the LAAAAA syllable in.

I now have an app that tells me what that note is. Aha.

THEN I have a pitchpipe app I can set to start an octave at that note. Aha again.

THEN -the Rosetta Stone of going from my Do Re Mi to y'all's ABC- the note I sang is Do. To do doremi you go full full half full full full half steps up, and voilà, do re mi fa sol la ti do. Tada! Amazing.

And, to play along, mostly use Do, Fa, and Sol, rather than trying to plink note-per-note. Play *around* what you sing, not *what* you sing, he advises. That's going to take work, I have a chameleonlike tendency to move half-way between the note I am trying to sing and the note I am hearing, if they differ. I lose my melody if someone tries to harmonize with me, for instance. So first, Imma plink note per note. Then later I'll try the playing around idea.

When I defrost Imma start really playing with it. I just spent 5 hours in slightly-below-freezing windy weather directing traffic at a jab site.

It is really pretty, my instrument, already nicknamed Woody.

No, that is not a sexual reference, get your collected minds out of their individual gutters. It is a folksinger's homage.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 03:40 PM

Here is a pic:

Blicky.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 07:23 PM

Ooh I have cracked the code!

1) Figure out song by plinking it out, write down notes in key easiest to plink song out in of the three I have.

2) Convert to Do Re Mi.

3) Play song in any key. Switch thingies around as approppriate.

Now I *really* don't understand why not just use do re mi. All you do in anchor Do [pick your key] and bob's your uncle, all the notes fall into place.

One note I am singing is below the bottom of my instrument. I will try to get used to harmonizingly using one octave
higher...

I am having a blast with my resolution this year.


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 08:13 PM

Surely the amount of body movement required for mallet percussion would make singing at the same time impossible?


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 09:12 PM

..didn't stop chain gangs singing whilst swinging pick axes & sledge hammers...


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 Jan 21 - 03:46 PM

Um no? Plinky plinking does not interfere with singing? I am sitting in a chair pretty much only moving my elbows a tad?

So far I have picked out Long Black Veil, The Boomer, Pretty Boy Floyd. Am using the do-a-deer song to get used to plinking with each hand.

No, I am not yet ready to plink on the Singaround. Maybe next week. Definitely before I turn 60 on March 11. New addition to my new resolution.

Aparently there is a portable vers3iin that has a case. Imma try to switch to that, though. Shouldn't change anything.

Do you expert think it would change the tone any, were I to put postits with do re mi on them to cover the letters I am not using?


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Subject: RE: Buying a grown-up xylo- or metallophone
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 01:23 PM

Congratulations, Mrrzy! Your progress is delightful.

I used to have one of those. (gave it to a family with children) I liked to play "Rose of Spanish Harlem" on it, as done by the Mommas and the Poppas, if that's how you spell that. It was fun to take two mallets and do the pretty thirds on the la-la-la part.

I don't think post-its will change the tone. Try it and see.


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