Tag Archive for: music instruments

Aachen Cathedral Bells, Full Ringing

The full ringing of Aachen Cathedral, recorded on Christmas Eve at midnight.
Nice to see in the spectrogram how some tones develop only after the beat. And not always the loudest ones are also the perceived ones.

Mary’s Bell: strike tone g°+8, 2075 mm diameter and 5,800 kg.
Charlemagne Bell: strike tone h°+7, 1628 mm diameter and 2700 kg.
Joh. evangelist: strike tone d’+8, 1367 mm diameter and 1650 kg.
Joh. Baptist: strike tone e’+7, 1367 mm diameter and 1150 kg.
Leopardus bell: strike tone fis’+3, 1078 mm diameter and 800 kg.
Stephanus bell: strike tone g’+8, 1027 mm diameter and 700 kg.
Petrus bell: strike tone a’+1, 894 mm diameter and 450 kg.
Simeon’s bell: strike tone h’+8, 793 mm diameter and 300 kg.

The Mary’s Bell was melted down by the Nazis and re-cast in 1958. The bell motif is formed by the Latin hymn Veni Creator Spiritus.

After many years, I finally succeeded in 2017 to get a largely trouble-free recording. I recorded it from Katschhof, the place between the cathedral and the town hall and this time recorded it with wind-protected hypercardioid microphones on a high stand behind two lonely Christmas market stalls, and one hour before I visited all the security people (who guard the empty Christmas market stalls), discussed the recording and – important! – I showed them a place from where they could watch me without disturbing the recording too much.

For years there were always disturbances, unfortunately also with the acoustically most beautiful 3D recordings with OKM original head microphones 2014. Sometimes it stormed, sometimes it rained, sometimes the police drove over the Katschhof, sometimes a blower blew into a plastic print, or security people asked questions, or someone poked loudly with high heels into the Christmas mass. In 2017, hypercardioid microphones with windscreens largely blanked out the sounds of space and the wind.

I moved away from Aachen in 2018 and am happy to have this recording in my box. It gives feelings of home. For me, the cathedral is the most impressive thing in Aachen.

Software: Overtone Analyzer/VoceVista

Incredible – a piece of wood with a voice

The Daxophon by Hans Reichel

Who does not remember to have made a ruler made sound by plucking at the edge of the table as a child. The German guitarist, improviser, composer and instrument inventor Hans Reichel (1949-2011) from Wuppertal has brought this simple principle to a professional level.

A 30 cm long wooden tongue is played with a cello bow. In a resonance box, the sound is picked up by contact microphones. The Daxophon Is an idiophone and at the same time a string instrument.

The Dax takes a decisive function. This is a handy, round shaped block with which the pitch is varied. On one side the block has frets so that sound sequences can be played, while the smooth side allows flowing glissandi.


What particularly fascinates me is the voice-like sound that the Daxophon produces. This comes through vocal-like formants, which arise when the Dax blocks the oscillation in the wood tongue at the contact points.

It can only say yes, no no.

Hans Reichel at a performance

Daxophone: Hans Reichel - Bubu And His Friends
Hans Reichel - Le Bal (excerpt)
Daxophone - Hans Reichel

At the bottom in the related links you’ll find a building instruction on the page daxo.de (Flash) >downloads.

My colleague Anna-Maria Hefele made me aware of these charming instrument.

Related Links

Radium Audio Ltd: Official. Radiumphonic Inventing Sound Series #1 - Daxophone Dinosaurs, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzqBm--xj8s.
soundsculpture. Daxophone - Hans Reichel, 2007. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGxyuPefhZY.
Dez Tab. Hans Reichel - You Can Dance With Me, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmX1_dHm5uw.
shuffleboil. Hans Reichel, Ulrichsberg 6.12.09., 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8uGNY2Qf9Y.
CH1PS. Hans Reichel - Yuxo, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_TgsRcdxxo.
GeninhaNinha. Hans Reichel Sometimes At Night, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu42MtNwGnE.
artazamino. あざみ野コンテンポラリーvol.5 ハンス・ライヒェル×内橋和久 Listen to the Daxophone, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-bWTUV7NHk.
Shane Speal. How to Make a Simple DIY Daxophone (Hans Reichel Instrument), 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6_M2JNR0tQ.
“Hans Reichel (Musiker).” In Wikipedia, December 27, 2016. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Reichel_(Musiker).
luvs7ruck. Hans Reichel - Street Song, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnKfmJeihgQ.
skincage. Hans Reichel - Le Bal (Excerpt), 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnPH-K44ld8.
2t22tornadosiren. Daxophone: Hans Reichel - Bubu And His Friends, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8dG8adbOXQ.
SoundRecordingJP. スティックやクシを用いる奏法【サンレコ2014年6月号連動】, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqIQHvC_mpg.
SoundRecordingJP. ダクソフォンのセッティング法と弓を使った基本奏法【サンレコ2014年6月号連動】, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtu1fJhqOt0.
“Hans Reichel.” Accessed March 12, 2017. http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/mreichel.html.
“Daxophone.” Accessed March 12, 2017. http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/photos/idax.html.
Destination: OUT store. “Shanghaied on Tor Road, by HANS REICHEL.” Accessed March 12, 2017. https://destination-out.bandcamp.com/album/shanghaied-on-tor-road.
Reichel, Hans. “Daxo.de - Flashseite Zum Daxophon von Hans Reichel.” Accessed March 12, 2017. http://www.daxo.de/pages/page10.html.
“Daxophon.” In Wikipedia, December 14, 2015. https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Daxophon&oldid=149049714.

Two overtone melodies at the same time – Cosmicbow

Christopher Vila is the inventor and manufacturer of this ravishing music instrument, that leads you in a deep self-forgetfulness when you play it, what you can still feel as a listener:  Cosmicbow.

In the video, he demonstrates an incredible control of the first and second formant, by playing two independent melodies simultaneously with both resonances. He controls the deeper overtone with the anterior mouth, the high harmonics are determined mainly by the position of the epiglottis and the root of the tongue.

This skill is an example of how much music is yet to be discovered in our vocal resonance cavities alone. A reference to the vocal Phonetics is interesting, in which also a control of the formants is required to enable the brilliance and load-bearing capacity of the voice, which is required for classical singing. I can recommend any classical singer to play around with the Cosmicbow for a while.