|1) The Jew’s Harp consists of a cast iron or steel frame and a tempered steel tongue. Béla has learnt the violin and the zither from the last authentic old players in Moldva, Romania, where the really isolated Hungarian minority, the « Csángó » people live. He created the band, Flótás, playing rather authentic music from Moldva and gained big success in the folk scene.
Some of my instruments are made by myself and by my friends – there is not possible to go to a shop and buy good Estonian traditional music instruments. But I guess, this situation is in every land – the handcrafted good instrument takes too long and too good material to repay for an instrument maker. And for traditional flutes – somehow, even when a flute takes less material and time -, there are only few traditional flutemakers in Estonia who makes flutes for selling. Maybe because flutes and recorders are somehow become « children’s instruments » together with traditional reed- and willow-tree-flutes, they are not taken too seriously in wider audience.
Her last album Change Is Good, Change Is Good was an enigmatic collection of modern chamber pop, given much airplay on Jarvis Cocker’s 6 Music show and finally confirmed by him as « my favourite record of 2010″. The 30-year-old Londoner is the same age as Joanna Newsom and has been playing for the same amount of time. She is refreshingly blunt about their unfortunate career clash: « My teacher at college came in and said, you’ve got to hear this girl. I thought: fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck… » She didn’t listen to Newsom much after that. A few years ago at the Green Man festival, she saw her live « and realised it’s totally different to what I do ».
Avoid some of the poorer neighborhoods at night, like the 17th Quarter (квартал) and Saisary (Сайсары). Hold on to your things, or keep them in inaccessible pockets, on public transport and crowded markets. It’s also worthwhile to note that some hold a ridiculous suspicion of the ethnic minorities here, but that’s purely a myth. Yakutsk is a harmoniously multi-ethnic and tolerant city, open to anyone who’s happy to be here.
In the musical and spiritual ideoscape of the central Asian steppe, the forces of nature’s master-spirits affect everyday life. With just two million people spread over a vast expanse of over one million square miles, the nomadic life is often pitted against the elemental power of nature, early or late snow, rain and wind, testing the resilience and humility of humans. In this landscape, the gods can be charmed with music, and music performance become an act of reciprocity—returning to nature what has been borrowed.
I buried myself in books, I was seeking pictures, sounds and looked for masters but did not find one. There I was, left on my own trying to gather all the information to guide me through my work. I had to figure out everything from the first phase to the end product. I have to admit though that there were certain advantages of this lonesome adventure: one has to find rare and unusual solutions for their questions. So, eventually, at the end of my inner pilgrimage, I managed to create a functioning Jew’s harps.
The resonance chambers of mouth and chest of the player can amplifie a certain range of frequencies, irrespective of the fundamental note of the Jew’s Harp. This range of tones that can be played is certainly different for each individual player. In her monograph on the Jew’s Harp, Regina Plate states that the pitches that can be played range from 500 to 2000 Hz, corresponding to two octaves. In my experience tones with a frequency of up to ca. 2300 Hz can be played. The altered resonance functioning at closed voice chink allows to play tones as deep as about 250 Hz. E.g., the tones heard in sound sample 11 range from 294 to 784 Hz.
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