The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

November 6, 2010


yet another strange instrument

this time a bass zither, probably american, maybe made by washburn/lyon
and healy, has that sort of purfling. the fingerboard is troublesome, two
of the five strings are shot. the bass strings really _are_ bass strings;
the chord strings are also deep. the instrument is huge for a concert
zither with a thick top and bottom. i'm still trying to get it to hold
tune. http://www.alansondheim.org/bz1.mp3 and
http://www.alansondheim.org/bz2.mp3 which sounds slightly like pipa. after
i reset the action and it sounds duller, but that might be the result of
the contact mic/amp combination; the mic is sandwiched between two pieces
of cork beneath the instrument. there's no label. it's worth listening to
these for the tone color, strangeness, something like five octaves to play
around with, and strange fingering technique. lao tzu would say sounds
leap out of sounds. that's how these pieces were intended (that's how they
were meant to be).

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