Sunday, September 13, 2009

Musical instruments waiting to be discovered

As every child knows, there are infinite possibilities for transformation all around us. The bar of soap in the bathtub can at one moment be something you wash yourself with, and the next moment it becomes a submarine diving to the depths of the ocean.

In a similar vein, the world is full of musical instuments that haven't yet been realized. One of these is the kaval, a type of end-blown flute played all over the Balkans. When I lived in Turkey, children I knew would make these flutes out of "bor" - plastic tubing used for protecting electrical cables that could be found discarded at construction sites or bought at bulding supply shops. Making a kaval is quite simple. Playing a kaval is a bit harder. You can find instructions for doing both of these at my "Make your own kaval" page.

Fans of the kaval might enjoy listening to Bayram Şengül and Theodosii Spassov, two of the finest players on the scene today:

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