Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
"Hi, it's Tim from Pandora;
Today, thanks to the extraordinary support of many Pandora listeners, we took a giant step forward when the House of Representatives supported Pandora and Internet radio and passed the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. Now we need your help so that the Senate will pass it also - and quickly... The finish line is in sight!
After a yearlong negotiation, Pandora, SoundExchange and the RIAA are finally optimistic about reaching an agreement on royalties that would save Pandora and Internet radio. The legislation would give us the extra time we need to finalize the deal.
Please call your Senators Monday morning starting at 9:00 (Eastern) and ask them to support the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008.
The person who answers the phone in your Senator's office may ask for the bill number - it's H.R. 7084 (if they ask for a Senate bill number, you can assure them that in this unusual case, the Senate is actually voting on the House bill number).
If the phone is busy, please try again until you get through. These calls really do make a difference.
Thanks so much for you ongoing support.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
If you didn't catch the World Fest this year, I hope to see you there next year!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
I want to play this drum with my hands, like a frame drum. So the question is which of these head material choices will provide the best sound, with the most overtones? I plan to tighten it pretty tight. I am thinking that timpani head would be good, but they don't make 'em this large.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Don't Try This at Home!
I come before you humbled in this posting. I thought that I had a great idea to advance the design of the Hank Drum by accomplishing two goals:
1. Speed the cutting time for new drums.
2. Reduce the pain in @$$ cutting of the small curves in the tongues, and save blades lost when they break cutting the small curves.
So I sat down with Visio and designed a new tongue design which (on paper) seemed like a great idea. I borrowed the concept from woooden tongue drums which I have played in the past. In the picture to the left you can see the basic design, a large hole cut from the center and then the tongue cut back from there...
From the picture on the right, you see the completed drum. BUT it doesn't sound great at all. After the initial removal of the hole in the center (5" in diameter) the drum sounded like a Tibetan Bowl!
Even after I cut the first tongue (the lowest D note) the drum sounded great. The low D note rang for a long time. But as soon as I cut the second tongue, the whole drum design went south... the addition of a second tongue confounded the first note and neither note sounds good. To complete the experiment I finished cutting the whole thing out. I did achieve one goal - the total cutting time was less than an hour!
My advice: don't waste $30 in this design direction. But I am going to salvage the tank by cutting out the tongues and getting back to that awesome sounding large Tibetan Bowl!Check out the Hank Drum Collective: http://hankdrum.collectivex.com
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I used the same rig to remove the metal bracket on the bottom of the tank. This part of the tank becomes the playing area.
Here's a view of the tools needed to remove the tank valve:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
This online community is designed to enable discussion of all aspects of the Hank Drum. It includes online discussion groups, a calendar and file storage area to enable communication between members.
Membership is free, and you can browse the information without being a member.
When I built this drum, each note was dead on in tune. Now it appears that all of the notes have gone flat. It still plays well and sounds good, but I am concerned that it's out of tune and won't play well with my Native American Flutes.
Has anyone else experienced this?
A couple of thoughts that I have:
1. The drum has been unpainted since I built it. There has been some minor rust formed along the edges of the tongues and the area where the welds were removed.
2. The drum has spent a good part of it's life outside on my (covered) deck. It's get's played often.
3. I play primarity with super ball mallets rather than my hands.
Friday, June 06, 2008
by Frank Giorgini
WHEN: July 12, 13 and 19, 2008
COST: $325.00 includes Tuition and Materials ($50.00 deposit required)
4425 County Route 67, Freehold, NY 12431
Tel: 518-634-2559 (or 1-800-UDU DRUM) Fax: 518-634-2559
www.udu.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Link for more info: http://udu.com/Udu_html/uduworkshop.html
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
WWHEN: Saturday, June 14, 2008
TIME: 7:30 PM
6115 Bernhard Ave
Richmond, CA 94805 (10 minutes from Berkeley on I-80)
Doors open: 7pm
Suggested Donation: $15-$20
For reservations call 415.568.1393
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Ben explains it all on his webpage: http://www.hickssticks.com/
Ben lost his email / newsletter list to a hard drive crash last summer, so even if you were on the previous email list, you'll need to resubscribe.
Monday, June 02, 2008
The other key piece of advice is that you must have a portable grinder to remove the welds from the bottom (playing surface) of the tank. Unfortunately, the tanks that I bought were made by an overzealous welder during manufacturing. Each weld (four all together) was about 1/2 of metal attached to the tanks. I ground the first tank with a file - needless to say it took over an hour and a half...
The next day, I borrowed a portable grinder (the type used for autobody work) from my brother in law, and I was able to grind the remaining four tanks in under an hour total. The trick here is to not let the powered grinder dig into the surface of the tank to produce any 'channels'. It's impossible to clean those up, so stop short of the final grind and finish with a file.
In the meantime, I discovered one new tuning idea with Dennis Havlena's original tuning configuration. I had emailed Dennis after my first build, because the highest two notes (the C and the F, next to the low D "ding" note) didn't have great ring or sound. My theory was that they were too close to the center, and didn't have a stable base to ring appropriately. Thus, I theorized that moving them outward from Dennis's original plans would make them sound better. Indeed, my first drum that I built this weekend, I moved both of these notes out towards the perimeter of the body by almost an inch. The result was perfect, with both of these notes provided much better clarity and ring.
Here's an illustration of Dennis's original configuration (in D Minor Pentatonic)
The second drum that I built this weekend has a different tuning, still in the key of D minor Pentatonic, but with a different configuration of notes that I had proposed in my prior Blog posting: http://foundmusic.blogspot.com/2008/05/how-to-improve-your-hank-drum.html
The notes are (lowest to highest):
D F G A C D* F* G* *octave
The drum which I made using the following configuration came out really nice. I'll post pictures and a YouTube video, as soon as it final tuned and finished (Iater this week). The different configuration of notes has a different vibe. I think that it brings out different songs, and since it matches the tuning of a Native American Flute, it'll be really nice to play along with.
Link to Dennis's plans: http://www.ehhs.cmich.edu/~dhavlena/for-webpage-lp-hang.htm
Friday, May 30, 2008
Or here: http://www.hapitones.com/Here's a video:
Monday, May 19, 2008
Props to Yapruder who came up with this idea. I haven't made one yet, but I am planning to hit the electricians supply store the next time I am in town.
Yapruder has even posted an Instructable build sequence here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Instant-Thumb-Piano%3a-How-to-make-a-set-screw-lamel/
For more inspiration, check out Yapruder's Flickr set online here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41969054@N00/
Saturday, May 17, 2008
My favorites are teh plastic mixing bowls and the water squirting on the metal...
To see all of the videos submitted for the contest, check this out: http://youtube.com/view_play_list?p=0C781CB4F95E29F7
Friday, May 16, 2008
One of the folks who was intrigued by the sound of the Hank Drum was flutemaker Russ Venable. Russ is an expert craftsman and he has been making Native American Style and transverse flutes for many, many years. Russ asked about the construction of the drum so I promised that I would send him the link to Dennis Havlena's site with the build instructions. (http://www.ehhs.cmich.edu/~dhavlena/for-webpage-lp-hang.htm)
Low and behold a few weeks later, Russ dropped me an email to tell me about his build of a Hank Drum. He was enthralled with the ease of construction and the beautiful tones that he was getting from his completed drum. At that point, he hadn't finished painting the drum, but since it was his first drum, he thought that a simple spray paint job with some spray paint would do just nicely. As you can see from the pictures, his drum came out fantastic. I'm painting mine this weekend with a basic spray paint job. Notice also that Russ took off the metal hooks on the blank rubber cords and fastened the ends together with a line of cord (actually, you can't see this in the pictures). Finally, I was impressed by Russ's ingenuity with the creation of a base from a piece of pipe, a pipe fitting, a piece of wood and and some rubber feet. (see photo on right)
All-in-all, a great finish to his first Hank Drum project.
Kudos to Russ!
Check out Russ's other musical creations on his website: http://www.rvflutes.com
I'd love to see other finished Hank Drums. I'll post the pictures here if you send them to me.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Idea 1 - Move both of the high A and high C tongues further out towards the perimeter of the drum surface. If you've attempted to build the Hank Drum by religiously following Dennis Havlena's plans, (link: http://www.ehhs.cmich.edu/~dhavlena/for-webpage-lp-hang.htm) then you'll find that these two tongue end up in the metal between the low D and the low F and low G tongues. They're darn hard to tune and they don't ring too long. Thus, the experiment to move them closer to the perimeter of the drum.
Idea 2 - Replace the high A and high C tongues with other notes within the D pentatonic scale. The idea here is that if these notes are too short to make a nice note, replace them with a longer tongue and a note that will sound better.
If you not familiar, the basic D minor pentatonic scale is made up of the following six note (in order lowest to highest):
D F G A C D* *octave
The notes currently in Dennis's plans (for the eight tongues) are (in order lowest to highest):
D A C D* F G A* C* *octave
One proposal is to replace the high A and C with the following configurations:
D F G A C D* F *G * *octave
Idea 3 - Of course there are other scales which can be made from eight notes. The easiest extension is to create the D minor scale which would use all eight tongues to create an full octave of notes:
D E F G A A# C D
Idea 4 - One of my favorite scales is called the Spanish Gypsy or "Abba Rabba" scale. In the key of D, this would be:
D D# F# G A A# C D
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
http://www.vimeo.com/985074?pg=embed&sec=985074 from Collin Cunningham on Vimeo.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I found the perfect explanation of how blogging works, if you're curious.
This short video explains it all, in the simplest terms I've found yet. (the video is entertaining by itself...)
Friday, May 02, 2008
Pretty cool engineering, even if it's a bit limiting from the musical side.
For more detail, including a free download of their software: http://www.theguitarzeros.com
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
WHEN: Saturday, April 26, 2008
WHERE: New Guinea Sculpture Garden, Stanford Campus, Palo Alto, CA
New Guinea Sculpture Garden
450 Santa Teresa St
Stanford, CA 94305
For more info, a full updated concert calendar and a map please visit:
Monday, April 07, 2008
I found this fantastica article on pre-Columbia whistling jars on the ceramic musical instruments yahoo group. This article, by Brian Ransom explains how the jars are built and how they function. I've never seen or heard one, but now I am very curious.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
Here's a super cool new product from Musical Furnishings. It's a musical table with interchangable instrument panels. It's called the Rumba Series. It's available in 4 sizes (2x2, 2x4, 3x3, 4x4). Prices range from $800 to $2900.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
When: 19th - 21st September 2008
Where: Mellow Farm, Farnham, UK
Cost: 20 pounds (sorry, don't know how to get a british pound symbol on my computer...)
The event will include workshops and concerts.
Friday, February 29, 2008
The Good News:
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I find the sound from these instruments to be incredibly beautiful, and these instruments made by Peter Biffen to have amazing craftsmanship. They're not cheap, but I can imagine that they are a wonderful investment.
Peter some some great sound samples on his website, be sure to check them out, in order to hear the range and sound color of these instruments.
Peter makes several styles:
Has four played strings and 8 sympathetic strings. It comes with tied frets, which enable a vast range of tunings, including modern/western tunings to microtonal middle eastern tunings. Be sure to listen to all of the sound files which demonstrate the range of this instruments in both a bowed an plucked playing style.
This four stringed instrument is based on the traditional kemanche. But it looks like Peter has improved on the design and sound quality substantially.
This three string instrument is based on the traditional Cretan Lyra.
This is Peter's unique design. You gotta listen to the sound sample to appreciate what this instrument can do.
To really understand and appreciate the design enhancements which Peter has made here, you need to visit the design page on the website:
Friday, February 22, 2008
Since our government seems to have little interest in returning to the moon anytime soon, I applaud the Xprise folks for setting up this competition to inspire a new generation of engineers to get to the moon.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Basically, it's an interactive music sound board that has the notes organized in a very interesting way. By clicking with your mouse, you make music.
In addition, it's also a shared music space, so that as other users login and play with it, you all make music together.
Check it out at: http://www.muxicall.com/
Friday, February 08, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
What can we tell you about our instruments? Well, we have approached it as a bell, which we believe it truly is. All of our instruments will be made with the highest quality materials, and will come with a certified print out of tuning accuracy. We are experimenting with various hardening procedures, but do know that playing over the years will render the instrument out of tune. As a result, we are aware that we need to offer some sort of tuning service for our customers. We are working on those logistics as we speak.
If you would like to get on our waiting list, we request that you send us an email and include the following information:
Shipping address (we will confirm this before shipping)
A phone number we can reach you at
Valid email address
Nature of request (number of instruments, etc.)
The process will work as follows:
When we are ready to provide your instrument, we will contact you and describe the opportunity, discuss payment arrangements, etc. If you are not able to purchase the instrument, we will go to the next in line and your name will have to go to the bottom of the list. When we ship, we will ship certified, and insured for full amount – no exceptions.
We are very excited about providing you with a high quality instrument, and appreciate your interest in and support of BlackBells.com
If you have any interest in getting your hands on a Hang-style drum, this looks like a great opportunity.
It appears that Blackbells will push new limits with the Hang-style drums. They are looking at new ways of creating and tuning the instrument, as well as new designs. Who ever said competition isn't good for the market? ;-)
They are also going to be offering services including a 'retuning' service for your Blackbells drum over time. It looks like they are serious about their "whole product" delivery, and I applaud that.
If you want to get whipped into a frenzy, checkout their online forum: http://www.blackbells.com/forum
Here's the website link: http://www.blackbells.com/
I've been in love with the Hang Drum, but alas, I haven't been able to find an affordable one to purchase yet (but you can read more about that adventure on my other posts).
Here's the story about my creation process in building my own Hank Drum.
Step 1: Purchase a brand new 20 lb propane tank. NOTE: like Dennis recommends, ONLY USE A NEW NEVER BEEN FILLED TANK.
Step 2: Remove the value. I released the air pressure inside the tank with a screw driver by turning the screw on the side of the valve. Then I used a large adjustable wrench and some leverage to move it. This will take some strength and possibly addition help to hold the drum and turn the wrench. In the picture, you'll see how I secure the drum with a crowbar.
Step 3: Remove the bracket from the bottom of the tank. This will become the playing surface of the drum. I used a 10" adjustable (monkey) wrench, tightened to the dimension of the metal on the bracket. I then worked it back and forth over each weld until the bracket broke free. After breaking off the welds, be sure to file down the weld mounts until they are flush with the surface of the 'drum head'.
Step 4: Printout the pattern from Dennis's website and enlarge the pattern on your scanner or a copy machine until it is the correct dimension. Position this pattern overtop of the "drum head".
Step 5: Trace the pattern onto the surface of the drum. I used a sharpie pen to copy it. This turned out to be a pretty good idea, as the saw scratched up the surface pretty good and I was using oil to help the cut. If I had used a pencil or a water soluable pen, the lines would have been messed up.
Step 6: Cut the tongues out with a jigsaw and metal cutting blade. Follow Dennis' advice on grinding down the blade to cut the tight radius. I went through two blades to cut all of the tongues out. Here's where I made one variation from Dennis's recommendation. Instead of drilling three small holes (my cordless drill battery is pretty shot anyway), I used a dremel tool with a cut-off wheel to start the cut, right on the line of the tongue. (I apologize that the image is sorta blurry). From here it was easy to cut out the rest of the tongue. NOTE: As Dennis recommends, make sure that you stop short on each tongue. This leaves you room to tune each tongue later.
Step 7: Tuning the drum. This is the step where you have to be the most careful. You'll need a digital tuner to complete this step. I started with the biggest tongues first. I used a hacksaw blade with half of it covered in electrical tape, to extend the cuts of each tongue until it was in tune. Note: as shown in the picture, I used eletrical tape to deaden the other tongue while I tuned a specific tongue. I also followed Dennis's advice and left the larger tonque's "open" when tuning the highest two tongue. I am still not completely happy with the tuning or performance of the highest two notes, they "sound" but they don't ring very long.
Step 8: Add a couple of rubber tie down's to the middle of the drum. This helps to dampen the ringing.
Step 9: Play your drum!
First of all, props to Dennis Havlena for his incredible ideas! Keep 'em coming...
Second, I took a dowel, inserted it though the value hole, placed the end on the backside of a tongue and then hit it several times with a hammer. This pushed the individual tongue "up" above the surface of the tank bottom. I think that this make it more playable.
Third, I've also been playing around with the strategic placement of modeling clay on the tank bottom to help eliminate some of the overtones, attempting to get a purer sound.
Fourth: Check the "How To" link section on the sidebar of the blog for additional blog entries on Hank Drum construction.
I'll post a YouTube video once I get a moment to record something.
Join the Hank Drum Collective: http://hankdrum.collectivex.com
Friday, January 11, 2008
For more information: http://www.vegetableorchestra.org/
"This is organic music at its best" - Larry the Cucumber
"My cousin has been a featured performer several times" - Bob the Tomato
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Sunday, January 06, 2008
There is another US pan drum company considering making a Hang-Drum style instrument, but no official news yet. The company is the Pantheon Steel Drum company.