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Article

Adams  

James Holland

Dutch manufacturer of percussion instruments. Adams Musical Instruments was established at the end of the 1960s by André Adams at Thorn in the Netherlands. Adams has become one of the leading percussion manufacturers in the world. Its list of products range from lightweight, low-priced pedal timpani designed for schools and bands, through to top of the range professional timpani and concert marimbas. A great deal of thought is given to the adaptability and portability of the instruments, as well as to their quality. For example, playing height of their keyboard instruments is adjustable, and their tubular bells may be adjusted both for height and range. In the contemporary world of percussion these refinements are invaluable for the player. Adams now manufactures timpani, xylophones, marimbas, tubular bells, bell plates, concert bass drums, temple blocks and a range of sticks....

Article

Baschet  

Hugh Davies

revised by Laura Maes

French sound sculptors and instrument inventors. Bernard (b Paris, France, 24 Aug 1917) and his brother François (b Paris, France, 30 March 1920) developed a variety of sound sculptures and new instruments under the generic name Structures sonores. Bernard Baschet trained and originally worked as an engineer, and then (1962–5) directed a research team at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales of French Radio (ORTF), whose work resulted in Pierre Schaeffer’s Traité des objets musicaux (1966). François Baschet studied sculpture and worked as a furniture designer.

François Baschet began to concentrate on sound in 1952, when transportation problems urged him to rethink the concept of a guitar and to create an inflatable guitar using a plastic balloon as a sound box. (The first patent concerning string instruments that utilize as a resonance chamber a balloon, a bladder, or the like, inflated with air or any inert gas, was filed in France on ...

Article

Steven Ball

Considerable evidence suggests that the use of tower bells in North America was somewhat widespread by at least the last quarter of the 17th century, if not before. The bells themselves, as well as the ringing traditions associated with them, were imported by European missionaries and settlers. The earliest bell founders working in this country were John Pass and John Stowe, whose first bell was the recasting of the “Liberty Bell” (originally by Whitechapel Foundry of London) in 1753 for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

A basic division has always existed between the use tower bells as a signal for secular or sacred functions, with the former more customarily being hung stationary and the latter tending to be swinging bells. By the turn of the 17th century stationary civic bells and clock chimes had developed in the Low Countries into the art of the traditional carillon, while the swinging church bells found across continental Europe evolved in England into the practice of change ringing. Handbells, developed in the 18th century for practicing change ringing indoors, have found wide use and popularity as a musical art form quite apart from their original association with tower bells....

Article

Botul  

Margaret J. Kartomi

revised by Gini Gorlinski

Gong chime of the Pakpak people of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Its five to nine small bossed gongs are placed horizontally in a wooden trough, somewhat like the bonang of Central Java. Unlike the bonang, which is played by a single musician, the botul may be played by as many as three men. It is the leading melodic instrument in an ensemble that also includes three suspended gongs, cilat-cilat (cymbals), and an optional pair of gendang (cylindrical drums). It may also be included in the larger gendering ensemble, which is dominated by a set of five to nine drums. By the late 20th century, the botul was seldom encountered and only in a few areas of the Pakpak region. It is not known nowadays in Boang and Simsim but is found in the Kelasan, Pegagan, and Kepas districts.

L. Moore: ‘An Introduction to the Music of the Pakpak Dairi of North Sumatra’, ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Jirapa, Ghana, June 22, 1958). Ghanaian xylophone maker, player, and teacher. Born into a family of gyilli makers and players in northwest Ghana, Doozie began playing at six years of age. When he was 12 his father taught him to make his first gyilli and he was a practised maker by age 15. After secondary school Doozie moved to Accra to become a xylophonist with the Ghana Dance Ensemble. He was also an instructor at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. Among other appointments, he has performed with the National SO Ghana and has been associated with the Institute of African Studies and the music and performing arts departments of the University of Ghana. In 1990 he established a workshop to produce xylophones; he made the xylophones used in the Broadway production of The Lion King. He has also restored instruments in museum collections. He continues to teach and perform and is managing director of Dagarti Arts and Music in Accra and a member of the Arts Council of Ghana. He is also involved in promoting fair trade practices. Doozie’s xylophone bars—from eight to 18 for each instrument—are made of aged, fire-dried planks of wood from male shea trees. Gourd resonators are affixed under the bars, which are tied to the curved frame. The tips of the wooden beaters are padded with rubber recycled from tyres....

Article

Thomas Brett

[electronic drum, drum machine, rhythm machine]

An electronic percussion instrument whose sound is synthesized or that stores and reproduces the sounds of sampled percussion instruments. It may be played on non-acoustic controllers that resemble conventional percussion instruments and are equipped with a touch-sensitive trigger that detects and converts mechanical energy into electrical signals. Alternatively, it may be controlled by an electronic rhythm machine, or played through virtual drum machine software. The earliest electronic percussion instrument was the Rhythmicon (1931) made by Russian inventor Leon Theremin on a commission by American composer Henry Cowell. The Rhythmicon allowed multiple rhythmic patterns to be played simultaneously by pressing keys on a conventional keyboard. The Rhythmate, invented by Harry Chamberlin (1949), used tape loops of acoustic drumming playing various rhythm patterns. This machine was a forerunner of the sample-based units that would later appear in the early 1980s.

Electronic percussion was developed significantly beginning in the late 1950s and 60s in the form of the stand-alone “rhythm box” or as an addition to some models of home electronic organs. These units generated rhythms electronically and their sounds were not very realistic. The earliest commercial electronic drum machine was the Sideman (...

Article

(fl Russia, mid-16th century). Russian bell and cannon founder. Of unknown origin, Ganusov might have come from Germany or the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to Moscow, where in the mid-16th century he worked at the court of Ivan the Terrible. A very large bell cast at the Moscow cannon foundry in 1550 has been tentatively credited to him; it has not survived. Presumably before 1564 he moved to Smolensk, where a cannon bearing his name or names of his apprentices survived into the 19th century. Ganusov is not named in documents after the late 1560s. His apprentices included Bogdan Andreytokhov, Yuri Bochkaryov, Semyon Dubinin (who moved to Pskov), Nikita Tupitsyn, and most famously Andrei Chokhov (Chekhov) (c1545–1629), whose castings in Moscow included many famous pieces of artillery and other massive bronze armaments as well as bells. Boris Godunov donated two of Chokov’s bells, cast in ...

Article

Kolberg  

James Holland

German firm of percussion instrument manufacturers. It was founded near Stuttgart in 1968 by Bernard Kolberg (b Oberschliesen, Upper Silesia, 1942), a percussionist and engineer. The firm has been influential in extending the possibilities of existing instruments and in the development of new ones. It has produced extended-range tubular bells (three octaves), crotales (five octaves), bell plates (five octaves), anvils (four octaves), boobams (three octaves) and other instruments, and a mounted tambourine to facilitate the endless thumb trill; it has also developed a number of technical innovations for pedal timpani....

Article

Korg  

Hugh Davies

Japanese firm of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Tokyo in 1963 by Tsutomu Katoh and the accordion player Tadashi Osanai as Keio Geijutsu Kenkyujo. From 1968 the firm became known as Keio Electronic Laboratories; although they used the brand-name Korg (‘Katoh-Osanai organ’) on the products, this became the company's official name only in the mid-1980s. Keio began by constructing rhythm units for Yamaha's Electone electronic organs, then produced its own separate units, the Doncamatic rhythm machine followed by the MiniPops series. Korg soon became one of the most successful Japanese manufacturers of electronic instruments, and produced the first Japanese synthesizer in 1968. In 1986 Yamaha bought a 40% stake in Korg.

The range of Korg instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers (such as the Polysix), synthesizer modules, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), string synthesizers, home keyboards, electronic percussion units, guitar synthesizers, samplers, electronic tuners and a vocoder. Its most successful product has been the M1 work station (...

Article

Rick Mattingly

[LP]

Manufacturer of Latin-American and other percussion instruments, headquartered in Garfield, New Jersey. The company was founded by Martin Cohen (b Bronx, NY, 28 Jan 1939), an engineer with a passion for Latin music who began making bongos in the late 1950s because a government-imposed trade embargo made instruments from Cuba difficult to obtain. In August 1964, Cohen began marketing products under the name Latin Percussion, including bongos, timbales, and cowbells. LP’s fiberglass congas gained a reputation for being louder and more durable than traditional wood congas. During the 1960s, Cohen also made percussion sound effects for Carroll Sound in New York and cowbells for the Rogers Drum Company.

Cohen’s innovative designs include the Vibraslap, which reproduces the sound made by striking a horse jawbone with rattling teeth; the Afuche/Cabassa, which creates the sound of a traditional cabassa made from gourds wrapped with beads; and the Jam Block, which is made from plastic but replicates the sound of a woodblock. Cohen also became known for his photographs of LP products and endorsers....

Article

Leedy  

Edmund A. Bowles

American firm of drum makers. It was established in Indianapolis in 1900 by Ulysses G. Leedy (b Fostoria, OH, 1867; d Indianapolis, IN, 7 Jan 1931) and Samuel L. Cooley as Leedy & Cooley and made “everything for the band and orchestra drummer.” Leedy, a professional musician and drum maker, bought out his partner in 1903 and broadened the firm’s product line to include more than 900 items, among them orchestra bells, vibraphones, and numerous sound effect instruments to accompany silent movies. Most important were the timpani designed by factory superintendent cecil h. Strupe and patented in 1923. They featured a ratchet-and-pawl clutch for locking the foot pedal in position and rods connected to the tensioning screws around the rim. The copper bowls were formed in a hydraulic press rather than spun on a lathe or hand-hammered over molds. Leedy timpani were exported to England during the 1920s, but later only the parts were shipped and the drums themselves were assembled by the Hawkes firm. Subsequently, they became the model for the first English pedal timpani. Leedy was purchased by the C.G. Conn company in ...

Article

Premier  

James Blades

revised by James Holland

English firm of percussion instrument makers, renamed Premier Percussion in 1984. It was founded in London in 1922 by Alberto della Porta (d 1965), a dance band drummer, and his assistant George Smith. Having been bombed during World War II (radar equipment was also produced on the premises), the firm moved to Wigston, Leicestershire, in 1940. On his death, Alberto della Porta was succeeded by his sons Clifford, Raymond and Gerald, who ran the firm until 1983, manufacturing a comprehensive range of percussion instruments, notably pedal timpani and ‘Creative Percussion’ (formerly New Era Educational Percussion Instruments). In 1966 the firm became the first recipient of the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. Although they seemed to lack the drive of some of their competitors to update and extend their range of instruments, Premier remained an important manufacturer of percussion instruments at the end of the 20th century. For illustration of Premier instruments, ...

Article

Remo  

James A. Strain

Drumhead and percussion instrument manufacturing company headquartered in Valencia, California. It was founded 1 June 1957, by Remo D. Belli (b 22 June 1927), a professional drummer who was at that time a partner in Drum City with Roy Harte. Remo, Inc., was established to market the first successfully designed synthetic drumhead made of DuPont Mylar. Created by Belli, Harte, Sid Gerwin, and Sam Muchnick, the patented design utilized an aluminum channel in which the Mylar was glued, creating a functional mounting system. By 1977, 50% of all drumheads sold in the world were manufactured by Remo. First located in North Hollywood, the company moved several times to increasingly larger factories during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1996 a new 216,000-square-foot facility was built in Valencia, and former facilities were turned into showrooms and the Remo Recreational Music Center in 1998. The company also has production facilities in Taiwan and China....

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Largest Chinese manufacturer of traditional instruments. Located in the Minhang district of Shanghai, the corporation was founded in 1958 through the consolidation of 86 small workshops. Huifang Ren led the company from its inception through 1962; Guozhen Wang has served as its director since 1998. The firm produces more than 60,000 erhus (including about 100 of top professional quality) and 40,000 guzhengs annually, and also makes pipas, ruans, yangqins, Chinese flutes, and a few non-Chinese instruments, notably marimbas. Proprietary subsidiaries of the corporation include Dunhuang Musical Instruments Company, Shanghai Guibao Musical Instruments Company, and Lankao Shanghai Musical Instruments Company in Lankao. The firm has manufactured instruments under the Dunhuang brand since 1962. In 1999 the firm signed a cooperative agreement with the Central Chinese Orchestra in Beijing, under which instruments in that orchestra have gradually been replaced with Dunhuang instruments. The firm also maintains a close relationship with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Many instruments bearing the Dunhuang brand are exported, particularly through Eason Music in Singapore....

Article

Svaram  

Instrument-making centre and research institute in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India. Auroville, an idealistic and holistic international community devoted to education and fostering spiritual awareness, was founded in 1968 through the efforts of Mirra Alfassa, a French-born devotee of Sri Aurobindo. The Svaram workshop was initiated there in 2003 by Aurelio, an Austrian instrument maker who arrived in Auroville in 1985 and began a cooperative vocational training programme for unemployed youth from the region. With grant support, they formed the nucleus of the increasingly independent Svaram enterprise, which nowadays produces for commercial distribution a wide range of instruments based on traditional and new designs. The instruments are generally simple types used in elementary education and music therapy, such as box zithers, flutes, panpipes, drums, rattles, scrapers, xylophones, metallophones, and wind chimes, meant to appeal to all ages, especially children. A particular speciality are Klangsteine (‘singing stones’), sculptural lithophones developed by the Salzburg-based musician Klaus Fessman, that exploit a type of granite found around Auroville. The polished granite rocks, weighing from 20 to 200 kg, are shaped and sawn vertically part way through in parallel cuts to form connected slabs that vibrate when rubbed by moistened fingers. Production of these at Svaram is overseen by Fessman’s son Hannes Fessman....

Article

Edmond T. Johnson

An instrument intended primarily for use by children, typically for the purpose of amusement or education. Toy instruments are generally designed as simplified versions of conventional instruments, and are often constructed to a smaller scale and of less expensive materials. While early toy instruments are sometimes homemade constructions designed and built by children themselves, they have been commercially produced since at least the 18th century.

The distinction between musical toys and musical instruments is sometimes ambiguous. For example, inexpensive instruments such as harmonicas and tin whistles may be accepted in either category, depending largely on the quality of their construction and the nature of their use. During the last quarter of the 19th century the classification of toy instruments became the subject of a contentious debate relating to the assessment of import tariffs. In 1876 the United States Treasury Department ruled that instruments possessing a range of at least one full octave and “capable of being used in the rendering of musical compositions” could be considered full-fledged musical instruments (and therefore taxed a lower duty than toys). In a subsequent ruling in ...

Article

Percival Price

revised by Charles Bodman Rae

Since 1968 the official name of a bellfoundry located in Whitechapel Road, east London. The lineage of the foundry can be traced back to at least 1420. From 1570 its bells have been produced by master bellfounders of the following families: Mot (16th century); Carter, Bartlett and Clifton (17th century); Phelps, Lester, Pack, Chapman and Mears (18th century); Mears, Stainbank and Lawson (19th century); and Hughes (from 1904). From 1865 to 1968 the foundry was known as Mears & Stainbank. It has been principally engaged in making tower bells, both single and in short-range diatonic series: the latter mostly for swinging in the manner of English change-ringing, but some to be rung hanging stationary, as chimes. From the early 19th century or before, it also made musical handbells. At first these were mostly sets of 8 to 12 bells in diatonic series for practising change-ringing; but with the increasing popularity of handbell music in the 20th century (...