Label: dc records - dc 9 • Format: CD Album • Country: Germany • Genre: Classical, Folk, World, & Country • Style: Contemporary
Published Tuesday, October 11, Our columnist visits an Alpine Swiss village, where he learns the technology of alphorn-making and tries to play an alphorn himself - with truly disastrous results. Our agile yellow post bus was approaching Habkern, a Swiss village at the foot of the Austmatthorn Mountain in Canton Bern.
In line with an age-long tradition, at every turn of a winding mountain road, the bus driver blew a three-note post-horn playing the first movement of Rossini's William Tell overture. As we were getting closer to the village, however, the wistful wailings of the post-horn were gradually muffled by much stronger and much more melodious sounds, as if some crystal-clear mountain springs of music were running through the skies. Mesmerised by the the sound, I wanted to know more about these amazing musical instruments.
It was Saturday, but due to the approaching festival, Heinz Tschiemer, the factory's year-old owner, manager and the only full-time worker his wife would sometimes comes down to help was there to meet me.
The workshop smelled of varnish and freshly cut food. In the centre, stood a massive joiner's bench, the size of a Kuhreihe Des El Mash #3 - Mike Svoboda* - Alphorn In Manhattan platform, and on it rested a couple of unfinished alpine horns looking like giant tropical flowers, with long stalks, but yet no buds. Several finished alphorns were hanging Kuhreihe Des El Mash #3 - Mike Svoboda* - Alphorn In Manhattan the ceiling.
This traditional joiner's shop atmosphere was somewhat disrupted by a modern Emcoturn E25 turning lathe, winking its LED monitor from the shop's corner.
He went on to explain that alphorns are still made by Sola, Nuda - Ennio Morricone - Il Principe Del Deserto, but can now be designed on a computer.
Normally, Дым Вечерней Сигареты - Александр Янтовский - Прогулка С Собакой churns out one 3.
The wood he uses comes from local pines growing at an altitude of metres. These trees are often curved at the base by snow and therefore are handy for making the tailpipe — one of the alphorn's main parts other parts include mouthpiece, hand tube, central tube and bell. The technology of alphorn-making remains largely unchanged from years ago: individual parts are bonded together and then carved into shape.
Then comes gouging of the walls until they are mm wide, the so-called hallowing. The hallowed pieces are joined together with rings, then wrapped in wicker and — bingo — the alphorn is ready to be played. Unlike other brass or wind instruments, alphorns do not have valves or finger holes, so the twelve individual tones they are capable of can only be generated by altering lip tension which is much easier said than done, or blown.
I did blow it not the alphorn itself, but playing the alphorn in a big way when Heinz invited me to test one of his recent creations. No matter how hard I was straining my lips, the only sounds that came out of the instrument's uncomplaining bell 3.
Not that I had been innately averse to music, or, as they say in Russia, didn't have a bear step on my ear, but my general attitude to it could be summarised by the words of Samuel Johnson who thought that of all existing noises music was probably the least disagreeable. I had little doubt that she was a clandestine daughter of Adolf Hitler himself, for she had a nasty habit of hitting me on my fingertips with a ruler whenever I pressed a wrong key. No wonder that Loves Made A Fool Of You - Greg Kihn - Greg Kihn Again a couple of such one-to-one classes, I started running away and hiding in the park for the duration of a lesson — the ruse that was soon uncovered by my parents, who disrupted the Kuhreihe Des El Mash #3 - Mike Svoboda* - Alphorn In Manhattan . That was the end of my musical education, yet even now the sound of badly played piano at times triggers dull pain in my fingertips.
My pathetic alphorn playing in Habkern must have been causing Heinz heart-ache, for he hurried to distract me by coming up to his Emcoturn E25 and quickly turning up an alphorn mouthpiece, which he gave me as a gift. The obvious advantage of the mouthpiece over an alphorn in Heinz's eyes, or rather ears, no doubt was that no matter how hard I tried I could not extract And They Thought That Was Hell - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - Funk Man (The Stimulus Package) sound except perhaps for some semi-audible hissing from it.
Heinz is one of the 20 or so remaining alphorn makers in Switzerland — a disappearing breed. Yet the popularity of this amazing musical instrument keeps growing and he manages to sell dozens of them locally and to foreign buyers, mostly from Japan.
Unique as it is, the Swiss alphorn has a number of prototypes in other countries — from Australian didgeridoo to Polish Ligawka, Romanian Bucium, Argentinian Erke and Ukrainian Trembita — all manufactured to the same principle, yet using different technologies.
Please write to me about unusual musical instruments you may have come across or maybe even played. What they are like and how, where and out of what materials they are made. You may also want to attach recordings of their sound.
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