5 October 2006

Show and Tell: musical instruments UPDATED!


I had the honour of choosing Show and Tell this week. Actually I think someone else suggested it and I merely said yes, yes! So, musical instruments it is.

Please excuse photo quality - this working lark means I don't get home in time to photograph things in daylight. *sigh*

We have a large selection of recorders, a triangle, maracas, a xylophone and two violins (one half size, one three-quarter size) to choose from at this house, but I went with the mystery instrument.

We picked this up, in appalling cond ition, at Salamanca Market in Hobart a couple of years ago while visiting my brother and his daughter for Christmas. The stallholder had no idea what it was or how old it was; he just wanted $50. After much deliberation we plunged.

Back home I did lots of internet research and we think it is a mandola, or mandocello. It looks like the old bowl-back A-model mandolins, but with the super long neck. Well, it's some kind of early 20th century European instrum ent anyway. A Maltese friend of ours saw it and called it a lute, and it certainly looks like something a medieval lady might thoughtfully strum.

UPDATE - It is a trichordo bouzouki. Thanks Kat and Shula!

It lay around the house for a year or two before I took it to a luthier. We were given the option of spend ing a thousand or so dollars on it to bring it up to museum standard, or one hundred dollars to do a few repairs and turn it into something that could be played and enjoyed.

We forked out the hundred bucks and had new pegs and strings put on (it's double strung!), the cracks at the back sealed and an antique bridge sourced and installed.

Son #1 of the amazing musical talent can pick it up and play anything on it, and the double strings make it delightfully twangy but not too countryish (or westernish).

Son #3's favourite song is:

I lululove to plalalay my ololold banjolololo,
and plalalace it ololon my kneeleeleeleeleeleeleee.
But nolowlow the stringalings are brolololokelelelen
and ilililit won't plalalay for melelelelelelee.

I tooloolook it toolooloo the melelender's shololop,
to seeleelee what helelee would saylaylaylayay.
The melelender helelee did fililix it wellellell,
and nowlowlow I plalalay all daylaylaylaylaylaylay!

(Every time he sings the word shololop I get the giggles)..


blackbird said...

It's lovely...
and I was all moody and misty over it until I got to the bit with the song.
Now I have to figure out how to sing it!

Kat said...

Double strung? Is it a bouzouki?


shula said...

I vote bouzouki too.

The Greeks use them.

The Irish are rather fond of them too.

Certainly looks like one from here.

Though it's a little hard to tell.

Lovely thing.

Okay, going to Nymagee now.

Really, I am.

Elizabeth said...

It's beautiful, even if it isn't museum quality. And how wonderful someone in the family can play it!
Can you (or someone technically proficient in your household) do an audio clip so we can hear it being played?
I was going to play your Show and Tell today and blog at last (gasp) but I just discovered the camera batteries are dead. Sigh

Amy A. said...

Ooh, an audio clip! Good thinking, Elizabeth. I would love to hear that song.

Beautiful instrument.

Emma said...

It's gorgeous! Lucky you.

herhimnbryn said...

I think the light in your image suits the instrument. It does look beautiful.

meggie said...

It looks beautiful.
How lovely that you cared enough to have it repaired.

Karan said...

Please record both sons doing their bouzouki best.

h&b said...

That is one gorgeous instument !

Bargain too !

BabelBabe said...

it's gorgeous. i want to come to your house, hear the song, and peruse your delicious-looking bookshelves but i would probaby never leave and i'd be like the guest in that Edward Gorey story, that they can't get rid of.

Anonymous said...

Hi !This is a 3 string greek bouzouki , as all the previous guys said.
Is there a label in the instrument?

Suse said...

Ooh, a comment on a six year old post! No, sadly no label. That would have been helpful when trying to identify it.