The Ziptune® musical zipper (new patent)

Inventor Stan Divranos, of Chino, California, has just been granted a US patent (Aug 29th 2017) for his Ziptune® musical zipper. “Various types of zippers are known in the prior art. However, what has been needed is a musical zipper including a zipper having a slider, a continuous C-shaped flap having a pair of outer ends […]

Fictophones – a curiously unstable class of musical instruments?

    Does this video, showing sound sculptor Henry Dagg performing ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ on a Faux-Katzenklavier of his own construction, qualify as a fictophonic collapse scenario? First, some background. Musicologists often like to categorise instruments into classes or groups. For example – idiophones (vibrating bodies), membranophones (vibrating membranes), chordophones (vibrating strings), aerophones (vibrating […]

The sound of the contrabass serpent

The Edinburgh University collection of historic musical instruments houses what is believed to be the oldest surviving contrabass serpent. It’s called ‘Anaconda’ and was made by Joseph and Richard Wood, of Huddersfield, UK c.1840. It’s pitched in 16-ft C, a full octave below a standard serpent, which only manages a comparatively lightweight 8-ft C. The […]

Elephant Trumpets, the Acoustics of

“Because trumpeting is often associated with intensely social events, expressing the very high level of excitement and importance of the event, it is not easy to ask elephants for trumpet calls!” But that did not deter a research team at the Laboratoire d’Acoustique de l’Université du Maine, Le Mans, France (assisted by the Zoo de […]

Lowdown update for contra enthusiasts: a mega-saxophone

Jim Cowdery writes: No doubt your followers have been clamoring for updates to the contrabass/contrabassiphone post from several years ago. I am happy to provide this demonstration of the subcontrabass saxophone; the lowest note seems to be A-flat, a major second lower than a contrabassoon and a major third lower than a double bass with a […]

Improbable Research