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Author Topic: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...  (Read 2157 times)

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lachenal74693

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Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« on: November 19, 2017, 08:35:29 AM »

Strictly speaking, off-topic, but someone here is bound to know...

I had an instrument described to me in the pub last night - played by Julie Fowlis on the R2 folk
programme. The description made me think it was probably a portative pipe organ. I had a look
when I got home. Here it is:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05mk7f1

Is it a portative pipe organ does anyone know? I'm not absolutely sure because the ones I've
seen previously:

1) Have the longer pipes protruding above the top of the 'box'
2) Are held and played at right angles to the body.

Ta.

Roger
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Lester

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 08:37:12 AM »

1) It is free reed
2) It is a Shruti Box

lachenal74693

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 08:42:24 AM »

1) It is free reed
2) It is a Shruti Box

Coo! That was quick - less than two minutes! Thank you very much!

Roger.
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Roger Hare
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 10:54:45 AM »

Yes. they are used by several people in Scotland, Siobhan Miller, and Emma Spiers, are two I know.
Note for Squeezy, that's spears, not spires ;)


SJ
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 11:39:09 AM by John MacKenzie (Cugiok) »
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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2017, 10:57:57 AM »

1) It is free reed
2) It is a Shruti Box

Coo! That was quick - less than two minutes! Thank you very much!

Roger.

Looking at the Wiki entry, it seems they also have a Streb version.
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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 11:10:53 AM »

It's an Indian instrument related to the harmonium. I suppose, if you strapped a shruti box and a harmonium back to back and worked out a way to operate the bellows (impossible?), you could have an accordion on which the right hand was a PA keyboard and the left hand was a melodeon bass.
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Lester

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2017, 12:24:11 PM »

1) It is free reed
2) It is a Shruti Box

Coo! That was quick - less than two minutes! Thank you very much!

Roger.

Looking at the Wiki entry, it seems they also have a Streb version.

And there are Shruti apps available for both iOS and Android

malcolmbebb

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2017, 02:04:38 PM »


This appears similar, but has a full keyboard. I thought Shruti boxes normally had just a few chords & drones.
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lachenal74693

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2017, 02:11:38 PM »

It's an Indian instrument related to the harmonium...

I was initially bamboozled into thinking it might be a pipe organ by the fact that Julie Fowlis
was fiddling about behind the case with her left hand, while operating the bellows with her
right. I assumed she was manipulating the keyboard at the base of the organ pipes. Having
looked at the Wikipedia page and at some of the instruments for sale, I now realise she was
probably switching the levers to alter the notes being used to produce the drone effect.

I don't actually remember, but I probably saw one of these when I saw Ravi Shankar in Edinburgh
about 40 years ago...

R
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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2017, 02:15:43 PM »

Yes. they are used by several people in Scotland, Siobhan Miller, and Emma Spiers, are two I know.
Note for Squeezy, that's spears, not spires ;)


Don't worry ... there are plenty of other words that Scottish people pronounce wrong as well  ;) >:E
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squeezy

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2017, 02:20:04 PM »


This appears similar, but has a full keyboard. I thought Shruti boxes normally had just a few chords & drones.

A shruti box just has valves you can open and close to produce different drones.  The ones with a keyboard are Indian style lap harmoniums.  The bellows on these differ from those found on accordions in that they only push (having a sprung valve on the pull) and they fill up a mid chamber, from which the pressure can sutstain continuous notes (a bit like the way the bellows fill the bag which supplies constant the air for Northumbrian pipes)
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Squeezy

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lachenal74693

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2017, 02:24:15 PM »


This appears similar, but has a full keyboard. I thought Shruti boxes normally had just a few chords & drones.

Nice track! So, I guess that's a portable harmonium? I think I've seen something similar in Brittany.

R
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2017, 02:47:32 PM »

This.  https://www.shrutibox.co.uk/  is a Shruti box. You just open and close the external valves in a relevant key, and sing over it. The more accomplished amongst them, can manipulate the valves while singing, to augment the notes.


Sir John
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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2017, 07:20:03 PM »

This.  https://www.shrutibox.co.uk/  is a Shruti box. You just open and close the external valves in a relevant key, and sing over it. The more accomplished amongst them, can manipulate the valves while singing, to augment the notes.


Sir John

Here's a great example of that : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThsStP1qkuc
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2017, 07:37:49 PM »

My favourite shruti box player is Jackie Oates and here it it used to great effect in a song called Past Caring.
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triskel

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2017, 12:52:20 AM »

The first time I heard a shruti box being played, outside the Indian tradition, was by the Irish singer Nóirín Ní Riain at a singing session in Dublin in the early '90s, and I remember a wag commenting on her "electric handbag" at the time...  ::)

I think she's inspired a few more singers to take it up.

The portable Indian harmoniums started out as European designs in the 19th century, and they're hugely popular in Indian music.
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lachenal74693

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Re: Whatever it is, it ain't free-reed...
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2017, 09:01:50 AM »

Don't worry ... there are plenty of other words that Scottish people pronounce wrong as well  ;) >:E

It works both ways! I still remember, with embarrassment, my first attempt to pronounce
'Bucccleuch' when asking for directions to my job interview in Edinburgh in 1972...
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Roger Hare
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