Saturday, November 27, 2010

self-declared holiday

There probably already is a "National Obscure Instrument Day" because... well... there's a holiday for everything. I mean, my birthday is National Knife Day. Anyway, while I was procrastinating on a scholarship essay, I found myself on Wikipedia looking at their list of weird instruments. It's always been a fleeting goal of mine to learn how to play an obscure instrument, i.e. not something normal like piano (which I'm horrible at) or guitar. Even percussion, which basically includes everything you can touch, is getting a little boring. So Thanksgiving Day was dedicated to finding something obscure I could learn to play.

I was particularly intrigued by woodwind instruments, since I've found that brass instruments are just too tickly to play (you have to buzz your lips to make the sound and going "bbbbbb" all the time gets a little tickly). I've played friends' flutes and clarinets, so I started there, and I've always been fascinated by lower variations of common instruments. Here are a few of my favorites:
(pictures are from Wikipedia or Yahoo! Images)

Didgeridoos. They're technically woodwinds 'cause they're wooden, but they are extremely hard to play. At least I thought they were. Then again, being an asthmatic percussionist, pretty much any instrument that requires air is hard to play.

Various flutes, including the flûte d'amour (it has a cool name and it's lower than a normal flute) and the lower ones. Once you get past the standard concert flute and the flûte d'amour, they start bending in order to get the length they need to be that low, and the start looking really funky.

Same deal with the clarinets. One of the freshmen in band played the contralto clarinet in middle school, the instrument was taller than her. It was insane. Sounds wicked cool, though.

And a tromboon, just because it's silly. Makes a hideous sound, but it's just funny.

But considering that even an alto clarinet or something like that would cost me an arm and a leg, I settled for looking for the next best thing: a recorder. I'm not talking the lame-o, 4th grade, standard issue soprano recorder. I'm talking a real, high-quality recorder. Back in middle school, before I moved, our school chorus also had some recorder accompaniment; my friend played the alto recorder, and there were all the other kinds, from sopranino to bass, and it sounded really cool. So because I have a thing for low woodwinds, I set my sights on either a tenor or a bass recorder. I found them on Amazon and eBay, for pretty good prices (they can get pretty expensive). And Christmas is less than a month away... hint hint :)

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