Wednesday, October 04, 2017

unusual instruments

The Oxford Music Festival is mainly for young musicians playing orchestral instruments, guitar or piano, but there is also a space for people of all ages playing weird and wonderful instruments.

Following my suggestion, the committee has launched a new class called:

Show us your unusual instrument

Non-competitive. Any non-orchestral instrument from early music, folk, non-European traditions, including home-built or -modified or newly invented instruments. 5mins to play a piece and explain the instrument.

Time limit 5 mins.

It's class 160 near the bottom of this page

IMPORTANT: registration deadline is Sat 14th of October. (Although the festival itself takes place on the last weekend in January and the first weekend in February.)


So sign up now for a chance to show and play your ophicleide, hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharpa, khene, theremin, morin khuur (horsehead fiddle), tromba marina (marine trumpet), crumhorn, txalaparta, shawm, or whatever other instrument you play, and help to show the world that music doesn't always have to be played on violin and piano.

For those who don't know the festival format: There is an entry fee to pay (£9 for this class), which buys you the opportunity to perform to an expert audience, constructive criticism from the adjudicator - a professional musician and music teacher, who normally will dispense a carefully crafted sandwich with criticism surrounded by praise - plus the chance to meet other unusual instrumentalists, plus free entry to the festival on the day you perform, so you can listen to other musicians performing all day if you like. There are typically four strands of classes running parallel, so you can pick and mix.

I'm signing up to improve my skills on our home-built hammered dulcimer, and I'm advertising the class to make sure it won't be just me hammering the dulcimer ...



Angel with viola a chiavi ('keys'), Cappellina di Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Italy. Fresco by Taddeo di Bartolo, 1408. Image source: Wikipedia


PS (19.10.2017) in related news, the Society for strange and ancient instruments has just completed crowdfunding to build a quartet of marine trumpets.


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