Musician | Ethnomusicologist | Arts ManageR | FILMMAKER
THANK YOU FOR TAKING MY SURVEY!
If you don't know what survey I'm talking about, you have arrived at this page by mistake. Goodbye! If you did just take the survey, please stick around and learn more about the sounds you just heard below:
As far as the instruments on this list go, the snare drum is, to be honest, kind of boring. It's a drum with metal, or gut, or plastic, or rope strung tightly across the bottom to give it a buzz sound. You've seen it in drumsets and symphony orchestras galore. We included samples of the drum with the snares activated and without, in order to see if they might impact the way the sound is perceived.
The hosho is a shaker used by the Shona people of Zimbabwe to accompany traditional mbira music. The hosho is made from a calabash gourd, with pebbles or dried seeds filling the inside. As traditional shona mbira music has been adapted into new forms, such as the rock & roll-esque Chimurenga genre, the hosho has followed, often maintaining it's iconic off-kilter triplet pattern (1--45-|1--45-).
The sistrum (plural: sistra) is an ancient instrument, being recognizable in images from ancient Egypt. It was used in the worship of deities by being shaken in multitudes to cause a great cacophony. The sistrum is still associated with religion today, having a role in the traditions of the Coptic Church (Ethiopia). It has also been included in modern chamber music works such as John Cage's Third Construction.
Native America Flute
This style of flute is classified according to the Sachs-Hornbostel system as an "outside-flue flute" because of the curious method by which the sonic vibration is activated. The player blows directly into the end, and their air flows out a small hole covered up by the dark brown apparatus near the top in the image, then pushed by the same apparatus back into the flute through the hole that is visible directly beneath the apparatus, where the air hits a sharp edge, activating the vibration. This form of flute, to my knowledge, was only developed in the Americas, and can be seen depicted in Aztec art. R. Carlos Nakai is perhaps the most famous proponent of the instrument, typically referred to simply as "Native American Flute," having won multiple Grammy Awards for recordings he made with the instrument.
Maracas are a Latin America percussion instrument. They are shakers, like the hosho, but while that instrument is made exclusively of gourd, maracas can be made of gourd or wood (the maraca used in this recording is made of wood). Maracas can be heard in music from Mexico and many other countries and are often colorfully decorated. Don't underestimate how difficult playing maracas can be - it takes an impeccable sense of rhythm and extreme "hand dancing" skills.
The frame drum is one of the most common types of drums in the world. It is literally just skin wrapped around a frame, typically made of wood. Frame drums are used in many shamanic traditions from Siberia to the Southwestern United States, and variations include the tambourine and the Irish bodhran. This frame drum was recorded in a few configurations: played with a stick, played by hand, and played by hand with a seed-pod rattle attached to the drum. Could you tell the difference?
Other Auxiliary Percussion
The remainder of the instrumental sounds are from a variety of non-specific auxiliary percussion instruments including: a rasp, fruit shakers, a whiffle-ball "maraca," and small ankle bells. Most of these instruments were constructed and purchased in Bali, Indonesia.
The Cuyamungue Institute
And here is my shoutout to the wonderful people at the Cuyamungue Institute! They have been incredibly generous with their time and knowledge in helping me to develop this survey and sent several sounds of their drums and rattles that they use in their ritual ceremonies to be included in the survey. They have a CD (pictured to the left) available that includes about an hour of material for ecstatic trance (the tradition they practice), but would also be great for accompanying meditation. For more information, check out their website.
Whistling, singing, and chewing sounds were provided by yours truly (Lawson). The chewing sounds are a specific callback to ASMR videos on YouTube, which are a big part of the research for my Master's Thesis.
Global Connections: Thank you to everyone who is listening to my music all over the world! My recordings have been streamed in: Argentina | Australia | Austria | The Bahamas | Bahrain | Bangladesh | Belgium | Bermuda | Bolivia | Botswana | Brazil | Bulgaria | Cambodia | Cameroon | Canada | The Cayman Islands | Chile | China | Colombia | Costa Rica | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Ecuador | Egypt | El Salvador | Estonia | Ethiopia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Guatemala | Hong Kong | Hungary | India | Indonesia | Ireland | Israel | Italy | Japan | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Kenya | Kuwait | Latvia | Libya | Lithuania | Macao | Malawi | Malaysia | The Maldives | Mauritius | Mexico | Myanmar | Namibia | Nepal | Netherlands | New Zealand | Nigeria | Norway | Oman | Pakistan | Palestine | Panama | Peru | Philippines | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Russia | Saudi Arabia | Singapore | Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | South Korea | Spain | Sri Lanka | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Trinidad & Tobago | Türkiye | Uganda | Ukraine | UAE | UK | USA | Uruguay | Uzbekistan | Vietnam | Zimbabwe