The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

1920s? brass Ganges water jar instrument

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

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.

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

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