The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


1920s? brass Ganges water jar instrument

for John and Uli, who gave me this wonderful gift.

http://www.alansondheim.org/gangajal.jpg
http://www.alansondheim.org/gangajal.mp3
http://www.alansondheim.org/gangajalb.mp3

Listen to both with earphones if you can; the 2nd version has
added filter correction and reverb; the frequencies tend, more
than one might believe, to resonate in the subsonics.

"Whew, I've been researching the jar; it's a gangajal or ganga
jal jar, probably from the 1920s, used for transporting water
from the Ganges for purification; it has writing on it in three
places that I can't decipher."

"I recorded the jar. As you know, descendents of water jars are
used in Indian music (think of the ghatam) and I found if I
turned the jar upside-down, sealing the mouth on a mouse-pad, I
could use it in a similar way, and the sealing created an
interior that seems to resonate into the subsonics as well."

Compression pulses are set up in the jar; the air couples with
its container. I think of this as containing a universe. The
recorder, an H2n, was inside; the compression pulses surrounded
the microphones. Playing the outer surface, I'm literally
creating sound and music that is beyond me, the secrecy of the
contained and its resistance.

http://www.alansondheim.org/gangajal.jpg

(I can never reach music; music is a problem for me.)

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