October 2008

MY pochette fiddle has been travelling with a friend, and it has made another mile high debut – this time on land at the Everest Base Camp in Tibet. This yak herder’s hut provides perfect shelter from the cool winds, although it’s hard to imagine what the locals would have thought of Irish music being played on this instrument.

Pochette at base camp

But the pochette held up well, travelling unprotected in a backpack all over Tibet and Nepal, and aside from a few tuning problems with enormous changes in temperature and humidity, the fiddle has held together and proved to be a practical portable instrument. My friends have been sending me ‘gnome’ pictures of the fiddle in exotic places. Watch this space for more :-)


Blogger Singaporean-in-London has photographed this busker playing a violin on a slack-rope! Amazing work – buskers like this work very hard for their living. I hope he gets good hats!

busker on tightrope

Here is an improvised tune on what Kevin C Neece calls a ‘not-a-strumstick’ – for reasons he explains an another video. But as a home-made instrument of the three-stringed fretted guitar-like form it sounds pretty good!

Dean Shostak first heard about a glass violin in 2003. Since then, he has travelled to Japan where he had one made by the master craftsmen at the Hario Company. It took 6 months for a team of fourteen craftsmen to build the delicate instrument. It took a special heat-resistant glass to get the material thin enough for the instrument, and each component was hand blown. The body of the violin is all one piece of glass about 1/4 inch thick. It is hollow inside and has sound-holes on top. The whole instrument weighs 1.5 kg – considerably heavier than its wooden counterpart!

glass violin

Listen to the glass violin here.

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