Tag Archives: Instruments

MIM Again

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MIM Again

In April, my daughter, Carly, visited from Brooklyn, New York. She mentioned she’d like to go to the MIM.

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix is one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve been there at least five times since in opened in 2010. I’ve written other posts about The MIM.

Here are some of the sights we saw on our visit (click on the smaller pictures to enlarge and reveal captions):

The mariachi exhibit:

Drums:

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Costumes:

tapa from Oceania, a textile made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree:

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Grand piano made for Czar Nicholas I of Russia:

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Pretty cool, huh?

What about you? Have you been to MIM, or to another musical instrument museum? (I know there’s another in Paris, and maybe elsewhere.) Share in the comments below.

S is for Stradivari

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S is for Stradivari

Antonio Stradivari (1644—December 18, 1737) was an Italian luthier, a crafter of string instruments. He is considered the greatest artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial “Strad” are terms often used to refer to his instruments. Scholars estimate that Antonio produced 1,116 instruments, of which 960 were violins. It is estimated that around 650 of these instruments survive.

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Antonio Stradivari by Edgar Bundy

It is believed that Stradivari was a student of Nicola Amati, apprenticed from 1656–58, and produced his first decent instruments in 1660, at the age of 16. His first labels were printed from 1660 to 1665, indicating that his work had sufficient quality to be offered directly to his patrons. However, he stayed in Amati’s workshop until about 1684, using his master’s reputation as a launching point for his career.

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Cremona, Italy, where Stradivari was born.

In the early 1690s, Stradivari made a pronounced departure from his earlier style of instrument-making, changing two key elements of his instruments. First, he began to make violins with a larger pattern than previous instruments; these larger violins usually are known as “Long Strads”. He also switched to using a darker, richer varnish, as opposed to a yellower varnish similar to that used by Amati. He continued to use this pattern until 1698, with few exceptions. After 1698, he abandoned the Long Strad model and returned to a slightly shorter model, which he used until his death. The period from 1700 until the 1720s is often termed the “golden period” of his production. Instruments made during this time are usually considered of a higher quality than his earlier instruments.

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Stradivarius violin, photo by Husky

Stradivari’s instruments are regarded as amongst the finest bowed stringed instruments ever created, are highly prized, and are still played by professionals today.

Click here to listen to videos of world-class performers, such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, and Yo Yo Ma, playing Stradivarius instruments.

The Vienna Philharmonic uses several Stradivari instruments that were purchased by the National Bank of Austria and other sponsors.

Information for this article came from Wikipedia.

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Video of the Day: O is for Octobass

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Video of the Day: O is for Octobass

For those of you in the Phoenix area, there’s an octobass at the Musical Instrument Museum.

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G is for Garbage: The Story of the Landfill Harmonic

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G is for Garbage: The Story of the Landfill Harmonic

You may have heard of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay. This YouTube video, posted in 2012, has been viewed almost seven million times:

Cateura is the site of a huge garbage dump. The 2500 families who live there make a living by scavenging the dump for materials they can sell.

All of their need come from discards. Even their homes are built from garbage.

Favio Chavez, an environmental engineer employed by the dump, observed thousands of children who lived their lives surrounded by garbage. And drugs.

Wanting to provide a ray of hope, Chavez volunteered to teach kids to play musical instruments. He started with a number of donated instruments, which quickly ran out.

Chavez justly gets credit for his vision. He must be an accomplished musician, but I was unable to find any information about his background. For sure, he is an excellent and inspiring teacher, as evidenced by the accomplishments of his students.

And the children! Their dedication to practice shows in the way their performances shine.

A documentary about the orchestra, called Landfill Harmonic, came out in 2016:

In my opinion, the unrecognized angel of the orchestra is Nicola Gomez. A carpenter by trade, “Don Cola” Gomez is who Chavez turned to when he needed more instruments for his students. Could he fashion some violins from materials from the landfill?

Gomez had never seen or heard a violin before. But somehow, he made one out of baking sheets, pallet wood, a fork, and old wires. And then he made some more. Soon, he branched out to other kinds of instruments. Trumpets made from drainage pipes. Drums with x-ray film heads.

Amazingly, despite the humble materials he used to build the instruments, they sound remarkably good. It’s not easy to hand-make instruments that will play in tune with other instruments. Especially without specialized training. The man is an acoustical genius.

60 Minutes produced this segment about the Recycled Orchestra:

I recently visited the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and some of the Cateura instruments are on display there (click on the small pictures to enlarge and read captions):

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Musical Chairs

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Musical Chairs

You may have seen some of these the other day, in my article about the Tempe Festival of the Arts, but I couldn’t resist entering them in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week, with the prompt: Musical Chairs.

Photos © by ARHuelsenbeck.

Tempe Festival of the Arts, Fall 2016

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Tempe Festival of the Arts, Fall 2016

If you are in the Phoenix East Valley area this weekend, head down to Old Town Tempe for the Festival of the Arts. I had the pleasure of spending three hours there today. I took lots of pictures and bought some stuff. I’ll share a little with you, but you should go see for yourself. It opened today, and it runs through Sunday, 10 am to 5:30 pm.

The first thing I saw was this blue grass band. They also brought along extra instruments so people could jump in and jam.

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After Leah Kiser (below, right) illustrated her brother Seth Ode’s children’s book, Morgan the Ox, she looked for a new project. Her little daughter dressed a toy dinosaur in a doll tutu, and that became the inspiration for the painting Black Swan (second photo below, right).

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Dana Robbins makes amazing art glass. I especially love the knobs in the second picture below.

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Bob Reynolds uses different kinds of woods to make beautiful inlaid cutting boards.

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Elizabeth Jenkins weaves cloth. Some of it she then further designs by removing some of the pigment. She makes unique scarves and shawls and throws–and coats!

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Art below by Deborah Haeffele.

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Joshua Seraphin reverse paints on glass.

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Darryl Cohen and Kevin Frosch make decorative items out of glass. I fell in love with the mirror on the left.

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James Floyd builds, sells, and plays hybrid instruments. Here he is playing some sort of guitar/Dobro/tambourine. In the second picture, an instrument has a mechanical arm for holding a harmonica while you strum.

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Brian Smith spent five years driving around the country in an RV, taking photographs of things that suggested letters to him. He will help you put images together to spell words that hold special significance for you.

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John McDonald’s glass art reminds me of Chihuly. I especially like his “Yard Sticks” below.

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Tom Deitenbeck makes beautiful pottery. I love the knitting yarn bowl in the second picture below. I bought one of his napkin holders.

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Rick Murphy welds together found objects to create curious creatures.

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Bob Cuthbertson plays a Chapman stick. I got to hear him play the Bach Toccata and Fugue. Awesome!

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And, finally, Jocelyn Obermeyer on Irish harp and Nathan Tsosie on Native American flute.

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I hope what you’ve seen, a small sample of the more than 350 booths, will entice you to attend, too. And if you’re there on Sunday, you might even see me. I saw a gorgeous jasper necklace by Jean and Maya Montanaro that my husband said he’d like me to have for Christmas. Best Husband Ever.

Video of the Week #58: How Low Can You Go?

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Video of the Week #58: How Low Can You Go?

Wordless Wednesday: Instruments of Kauai

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Wordless Wednesday: Instruments of Kauai

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Photographs taken on vacation by my dear friend, author Linda McQuinn Carlblom, who graciously agreed to share them with ARHtistic License. Check out her blog, Parenting With a Smile.

The Musical Instrument Museum Revisited

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The Musical Instrument Museum Revisited

You might know that the MIM is one of my favorite places on earth. (See previous posts about the MIM here, here, and here.) A world-class museum located in Phoenix, it contains an extensive collection of thousands of instruments. So when my brother Bill visited from New Jersey last month, I made sure I took him to the MIM.

Here are some of the things we saw:

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Taylor Swift’s piano.

Instruments from Africa, some with exquisite carving (click on any to scroll through enlargements and see my captions):

From Asia:

And the Middle East:

We also saw lots of xylophones, but I used those pictures for a post on April 28, 2016.

We didn’t even get to Europe and North and South America. Oh, well, Bill. You’ll have to visit again so we can see the rest of the museum.

My brother and I are rocking out in the Experience Gallery:

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