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Name that instrument

Discussion in 'music' started by Nick S, Jul 26, 2003.

  1. Nick S

    Nick S New Member

    Dumb trivia question:

    What's the instrument that makes the whistling style noise on the Beach Boys Track "Good Vibrations"? I know it's some sort of electric single string instrument using a slide and a suspended string over shoebox style thingie :) but dunno what the name is!
  2. Kit Taylor

    Kit Taylor Well-Known Member

  3. Nick S

    Nick S New Member

    Cheers for the headsup - actually went out armed with that knowledge and hunted down the instrument actually used - it's a variation of the theremin called (strangely) an electrotheremin - instead of waving your hands in the air above it, this one actually uses a hands-on approach ... such weird instruments though!

    "The "woooo wooow" sci-fi sound that can be heard on Good Vibrations comes from a Theremin, an instrument that looks as strange as the sounds it makes.
    Invented by Russian scientist Lev Sergeyvich Theremin in 1921, the Theremin consists of a box of radio tubes attached to an antennae. The musician who plays it doesn't actually touch the instrument, but changes the volume and pitch by moving their hands around the antennae. However, it was an adapted version called an Electro-Theremin that was used on Good Vibrations. This device was more like a stringed instrument, with the player moving a finger across the board like a pedal-steel style guitar."
  4. Klaatu

    Klaatu Member

    I saw John Otway at Music on the Hill in Oxfordshire last weekend. He is great user/player? of the Theremin (as well as other strange instrucments) and well worth checking out if he's playing near to you. The man is a complete oddball genius.
  5. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    The Theremin is The Spawn Of Satan. Along with the Bagpipes and any 80's Simmons-based FM orientated drumsounds.

    Oh, and any twinkly keyboard sounds.

  6. space cadet

    space cadet dronefed and floating

    I must be a satanist... I think theremins are pretty groovy.
    As for bagpipes I think they have great potential as the underlying deep drones always draw me in, shame that it always seems to be misused to play naff shit tunes... Does any body know any avant-garde bagpipe records? Bagpipe improv? Coltrane on bagpipes?
  7. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob 47 Lab Rat

    Albery Ayler plays bagpipes on some of Music is the Healing Force of the Universe...

    Don't think Trane ever did. I have a fantastic compilation of blues field-recordings called "Living Country Blues" and there's a blues bagpipe player or two on that.

    The theremin is ace. Check out track one of Pere Ubu's Modern Dance ("Non-Alignment Pact") if you don't believe me.

    -- Ian
  8. Simon Dawson

    Simon Dawson Angry, Ill & Ugly

    I'm surprised more people have not heard (of) a theremin. We saw Bill Bailey last weekend and he did a brilliant "Zip a Dee Do Dah" in a Portishead stylee, which used one. Everyone was walking out asking what the instrument he played with out touching was.

  9. Ron The Mon

    Ron The Mon Location: Detroit

    Space Cadet,
    I'm a little unsure of replying to your request for a Coltranesque bagpipe player as I hate the bagpipes and especially believe they have no place in jazz. However, below is a mini-review I've copied from the All About Jazz site:

    "Although he made a few albums for Atlantic in the '60s which have since become collector's items, Rufus Harley has not been heard from much over the past few decades. Nonetheless, he continues to hold the distinction of being the first and finest practitioner of the jazz bagpipes. Making a rare appearance outside of his current home in the Philadelphia area, Harley's Sunday afternoon performance found him leading a Detroit rhythm section including pianist Teddy Harris, Jr., bassist Ralphe Armstrong, and drummer George Davidson. Dressed in kilt and appropriate Scotch attire, Harley made a grand entrance from the top of the stands with the traditional "Amazing Grace," only to then coax the band into a blues-inflected waltz tempo that made Harley a crowd pleaser immediately. Now, get this for a strange brew that somehow hit the spot- put "Stormy Weather" to a bossa beat and set Harley wailing on the melody! Between his witty banter and obvious talents, one couldn't help but be taken in by this jazz sage.
    Although rehearsals with the local rhythm section had probably not been in the cards, the chemistry developed very quickly between Harley and the trio and drummer Davidson seemed to push the envelope in a way that sparked the entire ensemble. For variety, Harley picked up a curved soprano saxophone that he used on a few numbers and also brought to the bandstand his son Messiah on trumpet, who seemed almost reticent to do much more than support the heads and take a few unexceptional solos of his own. Closing his set with spoken introduction and a sense of anticipation, Harley launched into a tour-de-force by sailing through "God Save the Queen" and other anthems, subsequently interspersing an Irish gig or two with "We Will Overcome" and "A Love Supreme." It was global awareness on a grand and musical scale, with Harley gaining new devotees by the handful."

    I've heard Harley's record and seen him live. It is truly awful music. However, it is so much worse than regular bagpipes that it is probably the most annoying record you could purchase. If you have neighbors you like to annoy, this is it. And whether you like the record or not, play it at top volume!

    Ron The Mon

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