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Do It Yourself: Suppliers & References


Experimental Musical Instruments
P.O. Box 784
Nicasio, CA 94946
Newsletter by Bart Hopkin
Bart Hopkin, Air columns and Toneholes, Musical Instrument Design, Making Simple Musical Instruments, 1995, Lark Books, Asheville, North Carolina.
Plans for about 25 instruments, most relating to familiar types but with lots of imaginative twists.

Folk Stuff
Instrument making information

John Thompson
Qin (ch’in) design, history, tuning, recording of Qin music by John Thompson

Mark Shepard Flute Page
Design craft manuals on flute making: Simple Flutes and Flutecraft

Rhythms from around the world
World rhythm training manual on African polyrhythms

Paul Berliner, The Soul of the Mbira, University of Chicago Press.
Book on Shona mbira music

Jay Havighurst, Making Musical Instruments by Hand
Features 75 exotic musical instruments.

Reinhold Banek and Jon Scoville, Sound Designs: A Handbook of Musical Instrument Building, 1995, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.
About 50 unconventional designs presented in accessible, readable style. First published in 1980, this is a classic text of the genre. A very readable text.

Francois & Bernard Baschet, Sound Sculpture: The Baschet Experience— Shapes, Sounds and People, 1945-1965 (Unpublished manuscript, 1965). And Francois Baschet, The Art of Musical Fountains (unpublished manuscript, 1989).
The former is a colorful and anecdotal description of the Baschet brothers’ sonic explorations during a seminal period – both entertaining and educational. The latter is a more abbreviated account of some later work.

Sara deBeer, ed., Open Ears: Musical Adventures for a New Generation, 1995, Ellipsis Kids Roslyn, NY.
About 15 musical instrument-making projects, along with other music-making ideas, from 20 familiar musical personalities ranging from Babatunde Olatunji through Pete Seeger to Tom Keith.

Will Ditrich, The Mills College Gamelan: Si Darius and Si Madeleine, 1983. Available from the American Gamelan Institute, Box A-36, Hanover, NH 03755.
Detailed descriptions and drawings of instruments created by Bill Colvig and Lou Harrison.

Apollohuis Het, Echo: the Images of Sound, 1987.
A collection of essays and photo documentation of sound exploration occurring at the Dutch arts center, Het Apollohuis.

Linda Francis and Alan Trussell-Cullen, Hooked on Making Musical Instruments, 1989, Longman Paul, Ltd., Auckland.
About 50 simple instruments that can be made by children.

John Grayson, ed., Sound Sculpture, and Environments of Musical Sound Sculpture You Can Build, 1976, A.R.C. Press (Aesthetic Research Center of Canada), Vancouver.
A variety of essays and plans for sound exploration, culled from several builders. Currently out of print.

Claire Jones, Making Music: Musical Instruments in Zimbabwe Past and Present, 1992, Harare, Zimbabwe: Academic Books (Pvt.) Ltd.
Descriptions and construction information for about 30 Zimbabwean instruments, written for use in the schools.

Harry Partch, Genesis of a Music, 1974, New York, Da Capo Press.
Partch’s account of the development of his musical ideas and instruments remains an important source for both intonational theory and practical acoustics. In addition to its theoretical information, Partch’s manifesto contains detailed information on construction of his unique instruments.

Ilene Hunter and Marilyn Judson, Simple Folk Instruments to Make and Play, 1977, Simon & Schuster, New York.
A collection of good, workable, simple children’s instrument-making projects.

Ronald Roberts, Musical Instruments Made to be Played, 1968, Dryad Press, Leicester.
Plans for simple instruments both conventional and unconventional.

David Sawyer, Vibrations, 1977, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Contains 28 unconventional designs.

Mark Shepard, Simple Flutes: Play Them, Make Them, 1992. Tai Hei Shakuhachi, PO Box 293, Willits, CA, 95490.
Accessible, lucid description of the principles behind simple flute design.

Irving Sloane, Making Musical Instruments, 1978, E.P. Dutton, New York.
Detailed notes for making banjo, snare drum, Appalachian dulcimer, Hardanger fiddle, and recorder.

Tom Walther, Make Mine Music!, 1981, Little, Brown & Co., Boston.
Instructions for about 25 instruments that can be made by children, along with activities and philosophical musings.

Dennis Waring, Making Folk Instruments in Wood, 1979, Sterling Publishing Co., New York.
Plans for about 50 instruments, some conventional and some unconventional.

Copyright © 2002 Chris McKenna

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