Listen to this funky electromechanical lithophone

Jay Harrison shared this delightful lithophone cover of Vulfpeck's "It Gets Funkier III" at the Parabola Arts Centre as part of Cheltenham Music Festival. Read the rest

Rebirth of the Keytar!

Roland has announced the AX-Edge, a brand new keytar for synth players who want to "step into the spotlight." The AX-Edge, approximately $1000, features 49 full-sized keys, hundreds of preset tones, ribbon controller, and modulation bar, and Bluetooth MIDI. It's available in black or white and the "edge blades" on the instrument can be swapped to change the look.

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Listen to valiha music, official instruments of Madagascar

A valiha is a special zither traditionally made in Madagascar from a local type of giant bamboo. It has a lovely sound, and there's a clear throughline from traditional songs played on a valiha to music of the Caribbean. Read the rest

The Apprehension Engine: custom musical instrument generates natural nightmare noises

The Apprehension Engine is a custom-made musical instrument designed to produce the scary, tension-building noises associated with horror movies, but without the all-too-obvious digital chopping and synthesizing invariably involved. The result is something organic and seamlessly natural—something that goes beyond fear and fright to nail you to some deep Jungian place so completely you become a part of it. And she says I'm hard to shop for!

Christopher Bickel at Dangerous Minds:

“The Apprehension Engine,” as it is called, was created by Canadian guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith as a “one off” for Mark Korven, who is best known for his soundtrack work on The VVitch.

Compare to the classic analogue horror instrument, the waterphone:

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The Marxophone, spooky carnival instrument

The Marxophone is a 1912 toy instrument that combines a zither with a keyboard linked to flexible hammers that repeatedly strike the strings. The resulting sound, over the years, has earned a strange place in folk music. It's often used to evoke a mysterious carnie atmosphere, but Katherine Rhoda shows here how beautiful it can be.

Named for its inventor, Henry Charles Marx, they were sold new until the 1950s and can be found on eBay for about $300. You've heard it in many popular songs, such as The Doors' cover of Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) and Portishead's Sour Times.

Marx also created the Celestaphone, a similar instrument with a more refined sound.

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Blue Monday performed with obsolete instruments

This "olden style" rendition of the New Order classic Blue Monday uses only instruments available in the 1930s. Performed by Orkestra Obsolete, it features a theremin, a musical saw, a hammered dulcimer, a zither, and singing glasses.[BBC via Open Culture] Read the rest

Grand piano that looks like an undersea creature

The bespoke, designer Whaletone piano looks like the oceanic offspring of the 1969 Fender Rhodes Student Piano. Read the rest

How to make a simple electronic musical instrument

The Friendstrument is an electronic musical instrument that you play by touching your friend. Mark Frauenfelder describes an easy creative project that anyone can complete in a few hours.