July 31: Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day

orchestra image credit Arthur's ClipartI don’t know how I’ve missed this holiday until now, but I absolutely can’t pass it up: July 31 is Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day!

According to the Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day website, this holiday was begun to recognize those instruments that you see occasionally, but aren’t very familiar with – cornets and euphoniums, bass clarinets and contrabass flutes. None of these came as a surprise to this band director’s daughter, but I still feel they’re worth celebrating.

didgeridoo, image credit Noel Feans

didgeridoo, image credit Noel Feans

Then the organizers of the day started to discover more uncommon instruments, and this time I really mean uncommon (see this list for examples, pictures, and audio):

  • the didgeridoo – a “wooden trumpet”
  • the daxophone – a wooden blade attached to a wooden block with contact microphones
  • the bubble organ – balloons, water, old furniture, and rain gutters, that sounds like a very tuneful renditions made by kids blowing into their straws
  • the aquaggaswack – tuned pot lids welded onto plumbing pipes

And, perhaps the weirdest group I’ve ever heard of: Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

Take that, elementary “make your own instrument” projects!

“My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.”

Psalm 57:7-8


2 responses to “July 31: Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day

  1. I play the musical saw and today I played it in the NYC subway. This is me http://youtu.be/lPvTTc7jAVQ

    • Wow. Thanks for sharing! I’ve heard the musical saw before a few times, but I’ve certainly never heard it like that. Bravo! I definitely think Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day celebrates the musical saw as well.

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