10 Weeks – 10 Sounds: A Challenge

This is part 1 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

I have been gathering quirky little instruments and musical odds and ends for quite some time and, whilst many of these have made their way into my songs, there are still some that remain stubbornly under-used. We were discussing this a couple of days ago and as a result, Katharina set me a challenge, or […]

DM1 and Walnut Flute

This is part 1 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

Here we go with the first of ten little musical challenges over the next ten weeks, which will help me familiarise myself with some of the more obscure and under-used instruments and musical software in my collection. I picked up the walnut flute at one of the two musical instrument stalls (klingklang.at) at the Karlsplatz […]

NodeBeat and Clarinet

This is part 2 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

The second challenge for ‘10 Weeks : 10 Sounds‘ is a little more complex than the first and resulted in three long pieces in a fairly laid-back smoky jazz-club sort of style. NodeBeat is a graphical sequencer for the iPad and iPhone that is simple in concept, but can result in some complex music. It […]

Kalimba and Celtic Flute

This is part 3 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

The kalimba is one of the newest instruments in my collection; it’s a traditional African instrument with metal tines attached to a resonator (in this case a coconut with a wooden top) and came from the Christmas market at Wilhelminenberg. I also have a much older version with wooden tines that does not sound as […]

Alto Recorder and Whirlie

This is part 4 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

Of all the ten challenges, this is the one I have been expecting to cause the most difficulty, as it is all about wind sounds, with little opportunity for contrast. This could easily have resulted in just being a wailing set of different notes, destined to set teeth grinding. So, what was the result? The […]

BeatPad and Mouth Organ

This is part 5 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

BeatPad is another iOS drum machine, but one that is quite different from DM1, being perhaps more like a variant of the Akai MPC series (though I’ve never used one of those, so I can’t say for certain). Like DM1, BeatPad has a wide variety of drum and other instrument samples (from gongs and brass […]

GarageBand and Egg Shaker

This is part 6 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

Garageband for the iPad is a ridiculously specified application. I can’t compare it with the regular version of Garageband, as I have never used that, but it certainly seems to possess the hands-on ease of use that I have heard of its older sibling. In some ways it is a complete recording studio on the […]

MeeBlip and Busilacchio Organ

This is part 7 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

In late 2011 I received and built a Meeblip synthesiser. This is an open source synth that you build yourself (though a pre-built version is now available). It only costs $50 (for the kit version) and is very well supported online, though a little familiarity with a soldering iron is a reasonable prerequisite. Once mine […]

Launchkey and Thai Gong

This is part 8 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

We’re back in iOS land this week, with a fairly new instrument application from Novation (who normally specialise in hardware synths and MIDI controllers) called Launchkey. Unlike the other apps I’ve used in this challenge, this is not a music editing or recording system, but more of a traditional synthesiser, albeit one that makes good […]

Piano, Ocarina and Rainstick

This is part 9 of 12 in the series '10 Weeks - 10 Sounds'

The piano is certainly the least unusual of all the instruments used in this set of challenges. We have a digital piano (a Yamaha Arius), which can technically also produce string, organ and choir sounds, but I wanted to try and keep to the spirit of the challenge, so limited myself to only the piano […]