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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

Laurence Libin

Registered trademark for sets of tuned percussion tubes. The tubes, made of coloured, radially flexible plastic, are of graduated length and pitch and produce sounds when hit against surfaces (including the human body), against one another, or by striking the tubes with mallets. An optional cap fitted to a tube lowers its pitch one octave; caps on both ends allow a tube to enclose rattling pellets. The descriptive name (‘boom’ plus ‘whacker’) was coined by Craig Ramsell, who invented the instruments in California in ...

Article

Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in 1980. Casio pioneered electronic keyboards designed for children. It has manufacturered organ-like home keyboards (since ...

Article

John Barnes, Charles Beare and Laurence Libin

Faking musical instruments can involve such acts as creating an entirely new deceptive object, rebuilding an instrument with intent to deceive, conflating parts from different sources to form an instrument with a fictitious history, or forging an inscription on an instrument (and producing false documentation) in order to associate it with an advantageous name or period. A successful faker needs to know what customers want and the extent of their historical knowledge. Fakes can thus shed light on those who were deceived as well as on those responsible for deception. Partly to discourage misrepresentation, during the Middle Ages European trade guilds began to register makers’ marks and require their use on products; bells were perhaps the first instruments to bear such identification. Despite continuing efforts to suppress the practice, and improving methods of detection, faking and forgery, especially of valuable instruments sought by collectors as investments, continue to flourish.

Instruments of the famous Ruckers family, enlarged and redecorated to satisfy contemporary taste and musical requirements, were in demand in the 18th century, particularly in Paris. Since the alterations concealed much of the original material and involved replacement of many parts, it was not difficult for those engaged in this trade to satisfy the market without actually starting from an original Ruckers instrument. Several workshop inventories taken for legal purposes refer frankly to counterfeit Ruckers harpsichords....

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

Carolyn Bryant

[PAS]

International organization established in 1961 to promote percussion education, research, performance, and appreciation. In 2011 it had more than 8500 members, with 49 chapters in the United States and around 30 in other countries. Since 1976 it has held the annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) with performances, workshops, exhibits, lectures, and panel discussions, and competitions in composition and in solo and ensemble playing. As part of its educational function, the society sponsored a revision and standardization of drum rudiments, resulting in the PAS International Drum Rudiments, adopted in 1984 and subsequently used by many percussion educators.

PAS has issued two alternating bi-monthly publications, Percussive Notes (begun in 1967 as a newsletter, later expanded to a journal) and Percussion News (a newsletter begun in the mid-1980s). Earlier publications were Percussionist (1963–80), renamed Percussive Notes Research Edition (1981–6).

In 2009 PAS consolidated its operations in Indianapolis, Indiana, allowing it to have its offices, annual convention, museum, and library in the same city. The museum, which houses instruments donated over a period of years, opened 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

Hugh Davies

revised by Anne Beetem Acker

A pioneering range of electronic percussion instruments developed by the drummer Dave Simmons and manufactured by Simmons Electronics of St Albans, Hertfordshire, from 1980 to 1999. Starting with the Clap Trap, a hand-clap synthesizer, the company produced other electronic drums, notably the very successful Simmons SDSV (SDS5) Electronic Drum Kit (1981), the first fully electronic drumkit. The SDSV was developed with input from Richard James Burgess, drummer with the band Landscape. Exposure from Burgess playing the SDSV on Tops of the Pops spurred considerable interest among many other performers in the 1980s. The SDSV has large, hexagonal, coloured perspex drum pads that trigger digitally stored recordings of drums (including bass drum, the pad for which is played with a pedal), cymbals, and bells; each pad has an associated memory in which recordings of up to four percussion instruments or other sounds can be stored.

In 1983 the SDS6 sequencer unit was produced, to expand the capabilities of the SDSV. That same year, the SDS7 and SDS8 were introduced. The SDS7 used digital erasable programmable read-only memories (EPROMS) with sampled drum sounds, but they proved problematic for live performance. The SDS8 was a less expensive, somewhat simpler version of the SDSV. A further series of small, very simple models—the SDS1, SDS 200, SDS 400, and SDS 800—was introduced in ...

Article

Synare  

Hugh Davies

A range of electronic percussion instruments manufactured by Star Instruments of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, between 1975 and 1983. The Synare P.S. (Percussion Synthesizer) consists of a small modular synthesizer with four drum-pads. From 1978 a rather different approach was adopted and the Synare P.S. was replaced by a range of smaller drum synthesizers which were either built into a special drum, controlled from a conventional drum with a contact microphone clamped to its side, or triggered from rubber pads laid out like the bars of a keyed percussion instrument. One model can be connected to a sequencer that can memorize up to four 32-note sequences. The electronically generated timbres include timpani, bells, and bass drum. Synares were popular for disco music, and some 21st-century sample libraries include Synare samples....

Article

Ernst Heins

revised by Andrew C. McGraw

[tanji]

Ensemble of Jakarta, Indonesia. It is an acculturated band whose music was heard formerly at festive occasions and processions in the streets of Jakarta, but by the 1970s only in the outskirts to the south and in the adjacent regions of Krawang (where it is also called orkes kompeni), Bekasi, and Tangerang. Similar ensembles have appeared in Palembang (South Sumatra) and Pontianak (West Kalimantan). The instruments of the tanjidor band are the Western clarinet, trumpet, cornet, euphonium (or tuba), trombone, bass and side drum (both called tambur), a small hand cymbal (kecrek) and large crash cymbal, both struck with metal beaters, and sometimes a small gong (kenong). The drums are typically struck with sticks, or by the hands when imitating Sundanese kendang. A helicon, tenor horns, saxophones, and violin may be added. The horns sometimes include locally constructed mouthpiece extensions that lower the fundamental pitches of the instruments. A singer may join when performing adapted ...

Article

Uakti  

Laurence Libin

Brazilian ensemble notable for its use of novel acoustic instruments. The quintet, founded in 1978–9 by the composer, cellist, and instrument maker Marco Antônio Guimarães (b 10 Oct 1948), was named for a mythical being of the Tukano people, whose perforated body sounded as wind blew over it, and from whose grave grew palm trees from which flutes were made. Among Uakti’s many unconventional instruments, mostly made by Guimarães, are so-called Pans, graduated lengths of PVC tubing recalling the tubes of a panpipe but struck by hand or with mallets; marimbas with bars of construction lumber or glass, both types mounted above movable soundboxes; bowed string instruments including the Iarra, a kind of cello with two sets of strings that can be fingered simultaneously, the Chori Smetano, said by its creator, Guimaraes’s teacher Walter Smetak, to be able to evoke opposite feelings simultaneously, and the Torre, a PVC tube with strings stretched along it—the tube is turned on its axis by a handle while another person bows it, creating chords that vary with the speed of the turning and the number of strings bowed; and drums such as the Trilobyte, comprising 10 PVC tubes in a frame, with drum heads over the top openings, played melodically by two drummers. Uakti also employs conventional and traditional instruments of several cultures. The group’s success, for example in collaboration with Philip Glass, has led to imitation by other musicians seeking new sounds from familiar materials....

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 (...

Article

Laurence Libin

[Woodstock Chimes]

American manufacturer of wind chimes, headquartered in Shokan, New York. The company was founded in 1979 by the percussionist Garry Kvistad (b Oak Park, IL, 9 Nov 1949). Kvistad studied music at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and Northern Illinois University and taught at NIU and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. He was a co-founder of the Blackearth Percussion Group, collaborated with composer Lukas Foss, and performed professionally with orchestras in the USA and Europe; in 1980 he began performing with Steve Reich and Musicians and since 2002 he has toured with the percussion ensemble NEXUS. In 1987 he formed the Balinese gamelan Giri Mekar, active in the Hudson Valley of New York State, and in 2011 joined the faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music. Kvistad made his first metallophone in 1974, using aluminium from discarded lawn chairs, then turned to manufacturing wind chimes of metal, bamboo, and ‘capiz’ shell, tuned to various scales such as Celtic, Indonesian, Navajo, etc. Other Woodstock products include wind bells, suspended gongs, and musical fountains. The company also distributes toy and educational instruments and is known for environmental sensitivity and socially responsible operation....