A hobby that lasts a lifetime and gives much joy and pleasure. Those memorable finds, the great people you meet, the new places you explore when searching. It is a truly engrossing pastime. Find an area, of collecting, that interests you get out there and enjoy.
Every household seems to have a collection of old instruments that have accumulated over the years. Whether in the back of the cupboard or in the storage lock-up we seem to have them. From mouth organs, guitars violins, flutes, trumpet, accordions to harps they just seem to accumulate.
Whether it’s a clarinet or an accordion, a piano or a trombone, musical instruments are beautiful pieces of engineering, which are lovely to look at but even better to listen to when played by someone who has practiced, practiced, practiced. Instruments can be divided into general categories such as woodwinds, horns, strings, and percussion, although there is often a lot of crossover.
A piano is a percussion instrument with strings, while a saxophone is actually classified as a woodwind even though it is usually part of a band’s horn section. Flutes are considered the oldest musical instruments, whose hollow-bone ancestors have been dated to 40,000 years old. Duct flutes such as recorders feature a mouthpiece on one end, while transverse or side-blown flutes are held horizontally, with air blown by the performer across what’s known as the instrument’s embouchure hole.
Drums may be just as old. Hand drums, which are called membranophones, feature a solid, cylindrical frame made of wood, earthenware, or dried gourd, plus a drumhead that’s usually fashioned from some sort of dried hide. As with most early instruments, drums were probably used to send signals, to herd animals, and to celebrate religious rituals. The drum kits that are familiar to concert-goers, with their various toms, bass drums, snares, and cymbals, evolved out of instruments played by military bands.
Trumpets also have ancient cousins, as in the use of ram’s horns as “shofars.” Metal trumpets appeared beginning around 1500 BC, while the close relation of the trumpet, the trombone, is comparatively new, evolving in the 15th century.
Wind instruments such as clarinets came of age in the 17th century, while the saxophone, the invention of a Belgian named Adolphe Sax, is a 19th-century creation.
All the while, people were playing stringed instruments, too. Banjos came to the United States with African slaves as hide-covered gourds fixed to a stick before developing, in the early 19th century, into the instruments we recognise today. Guitars and mandolins evolved during the same period, from the 1830s.
Ukueles became popular in the early 1900s, especially after the 1915 at the Hawaiian pavilion were a huge hit. A similarly democratic instrument was the harmonica (mouth organ) and its fixed-reed relation, the accordion. Both were used to play the people’s music, from German polkas and Cajun ballads (accordions) to cowboy songs and the blues (harmonicas).
At the opposite end of the music-appreciation spectrum is the piano, an early 18th-century creation of Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori, whose pianoforte was embraced by composers such as Bach and Mozart. Eventually the piano would be electrified into organs &such to produce other-worldly sounds.
Finding interesting instruments can be fun for displaying in a music room or for experimenting with their use. Just another great idea for the never ending field of collecting!
May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill. Jenny and I hope the year ahead will bring you contentment and joy. Have a wonderful Christmas season and may we all have a healthy and happy 2022.
Dave (a good friend) and I have opened a shop (Antiques & Old Wares) at 12 Isabella St, Wingham. Call in and say hello.
I hope that collecting brings you the enjoyment that I have experienced over forty odd years!
If you have items that you are not sure of, I may be able to help with information, appraisals and/or sales. I love the history and stories of old and interesting treasures.
Phone Rex – 0427 880 546.
Take care and stay safe!