Category Archives: Musical Instruments

Posts on interesting Musical Instruments

“Virtuoso” the Classical Music Geeks Board Game

There is something about the wooden texture, shining metal and the styling of traditional musical instruments that is very appealing. Although most of their designs are centuries old, there is a lot of grace and beauty in the way classical instruments are constructed.

Virtuoso is a board game that successfully captures that unique classic design. The playing board is wooden and shaped as a classical orchestra’s stage. All of the game design  down to the dice is inspired by classical music and instruments.

It’s designer, Caleb Heisey describes it on his website: “Virtuoso is a music theory board game. Players compete against each other by successfully answering trivia questions about music history, composition, listening comprehension, and theory. Not for the faint of heart, Virtuoso is a competitive, yet educational game geared for high school and college musicians to expand their knowledge and show off their mad skills.” When not used for playing, it will serve nicely as a collector’s item thanks to its beautiful design.

Heisey is a Philadelphia based print designer and illustrator. He studies for his MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in Graphic Design at the Tyler School of Art.

Although Virtuoso gets a lot of interest, the game is not for sale yet and does not even has a price tag. Heisey is looking for a publisher to produce the game and to distribute it. If you are interested he will be glad to hear from you via his website. After talking to him drop me a line, I’ll be glad to own one!


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The Secrets of the Cajon and what makes it so popular

Cajon flamenco Camaron

Cajon flamenco Camaron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I first came to learn about Cajon when a friend of mine told me that he is going to build one. I hardly knew what  Cajon meant at the time and why would any musician like to become a carpenter. Gradually I’ve started to understand the magic.

A Cajon (box in Spanish) is a unique percussion instrument. In its simplest form it’s a wooden box on which the percussionist sits and play it with his hands. It originated from Peru where it is called simply – Cajon. Paco De Lucia the famous Spanish guitarist fell in love with the cajon in one of his visits to Peru and immediately decided to adopt it to the well known Flamenco style of dance and music. That was the breaking point of the Cajon Flamenco and this is what made Cajon’s popular in many music styles. The Cajon’s ability to produce both high and low percussion sounds make it ideal for drummers or small groups who want a full drum sound without having to set the full drums gear.

Today the Cajon is used in traditional Latin as well as Rock, Pop and other modern music styles. The Cajon Flamenco has snare string that distinct him from the “dry” sound of the traditional Peruvian Cajon. There are dozens of Cajon manufactures around the world and it’s popularity reached Japan and China.

The Cajon simple structure made it ideal for Do It Yourself projects and for customizations. There are secretes behind Cajon buildings but there are many examples and demonstrations over the Web showing how to do it right.

I did not yet hear my friend’s Cajon nor did I start building my own, what I did is to build my own website dedicated to Cajons and to Cajon’s players. It’s on, check it out and let me know what you think!

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Music is more powerful if you make it yourself and now everybody can!

The original Guitar Hero logo features more po...

Credit: Wikipedia

A fascinating talk at TED presented by Tod Machover and Dan Ellsey. Tod is a composer and a researcher at the MIT Media lab. His mission is to perform innovative experiments on how modern technology can help us better express ourselves with music. The famous Guitar Hero came out of this lab.

Expression with music, Tod claims, is much more profound than words and can make us do amazing things beyond “just” creating music. With music the researchers were able to help physically and mentally ill people to better receive treatment. More than that, they believe that they should help everyone create music with custom shaped instruments. This is true for Yo Yo Ma and Prince as well as people strand to their wheel chairs like Dan Ellsy. Dan is giving an amazing and heroic performance with a beautiful piece of music that he wrote.

This is a truly inspirational talk about people who are transforming the world with music, and I’m not exaggerating.

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Filed under Musical Instruments, TED