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date: 16 November 2019

Sawyer, David locked

  • Hugh Davies


(b Derby, England, May 6, 1942). British instrument inventor. He began to construct instruments in 1966 while studying sculpture at Exeter College of Art. His work has been much influenced by non-Western instruments, primarily percussion, and he often uses bamboo. Sawyer has given many courses in instrument making, and his instruments have been played by an improvisation group and in workshops, especially with children; they have also been played in dramatic productions.

In his book Vibrations: Making Unorthodox Musical Instruments (Cambridge, 1977, rev. 2/1980), Sawyer concentrates mainly on instructions for building versions of familiar folk instruments from bamboo, coconut shells, ceramics (notch flute and ‘xylophone’), and materials easily available in Europe. But he also includes unusual variants: the Two-Flute (1973) consists of two duct flutes constructed from a single length of bamboo with a central mouthpiece; the Slither (cl974) is a 24-string koto-like zither with slotted wooden balls or curved pieces of bamboo as movable bridges. Two instruments have unusual resonators. The Strokerphone (...

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