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Dismuke's Message Board _ 78 RPM Records & Playback Equipment _ What instrument is this?

Posted by: Mark Atnip Jul 8 2011, 11:36 PM

Greetings again, all.

I am in the process of transferring more records into digital format, and I came across this oddball. (Royal 10144) I was wondering if the instrument being played from the :40 to the 1:20 mark is a saw. I have had votes for a slide whistle, a theremin, a saw and a human whistle. Any guesses?

This is a non-direct link board, so here is an online file you can listen to. It's in MP3 44K format.

Posted by: Roseman Jul 9 2011, 02:34 PM

I tend to think that it's a saw. The whistles would be hard pressed to duplicate this exact sound. The
theremin could possibly do it, but it was only patent in 1928, and not knowing the date of this recording, I
would doubt that it would have been used. Also, lack of vibrato in the saw selections adds some

Have included a saw and theremin YT examps. for analysis.


Posted by: Wagner von Drupen-Sachs Jul 10 2011, 08:15 PM

It sounds like a saw to me, too, because of the pauses in the phrasing. Kind of hard to do on a theremin. But just to stir the pot a little in favor of theremin, here is the New Leviathan playing what seems to be the exact same arrangement of this song, using a theremin.

Posted by: Shangas Aug 5 2011, 02:41 PM

The theremin has a very distinct sound.

I believe the instrument in the recording is most definitely a saw.

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