Xylophone Restoration & Re-Tuning

Here are a few photos of a vintage Korogi xylophone I recently had the pleasure of restoring for a local brass band. There’s something wonderfully satisfying about taking an almost unplayable instrument and giving it a second life – and in the process uncovering a beautiful rosewood keyboard beneath all the chipped and brown stained lacquer. Quite a cheerful and charismatic little instrument, this.



A broken bar cord wasn’t the only thing making this xylophone practically unplayable – some of the notes were so badly chipped, cracked and worn that they were more than a whole semitone out of tune. A friend recalled playing on the very same xylophone at a percussion band competition over a decade ago, describing his bemusement at the fact that the pitch of the notes didn’t necessarily go up as one moved up the keyboard. Well, after all these years, it seems things certainly hadn’t improved!



Ouch! I had to remember to keep my gloves on while working on this well-loved keyboard – otherwise I’d end up with a hand full of splinters. Those keys sounded a little more like an mbira from all the buzzing of the split notes.





Yep, that D was actually flatter than the C# to the left of it, not to mention feeling somewhat akin to playing on a bar made out of wool…










There’s that D again – now looking considerably healthier, and sounding good as new after being raised by a whopping 120 cents. Yikes!






Some quite beautiful rosewood grain is exposed after removing the original stained lacquer. One of the little rewards you get restoring old instruments like this is the uncovering of all the beautiful little natural embellishments of the timber – the classic dark streaks typical of the dalbergia timbers, the beautiful silky grain weaving like a mountain river… ahh.



The finished keyboard – now perfectly in tune, including properly corrected overtones, and thankfully free of buzzing and splinters, with a new bar cord and a properly tensioned frame. Ready to hit the stage in style!

Syzygy Ensemble perform Crumb & Gorecki

Saturday 19 November 2011

The striking music of George Crumb takes audiences to surreal sonic worlds: masked musicians play music that sounds like whale calls, an electric string quartet chants, sings and plays on crystal goblets, and a soprano sings a haunting duet with an amplified piano. A key figure in post-War American music, Crumb’s highly theatrical music connects with audiences with vivid and unforgettable sonic effects and his exploration of time, death and beyond. As much visual experiences as aural ones, the three works on this program must be seen and heard live for their full effect.

With guest artists:
Greta Bradman – soprano
Kristian Winther – violin
Anna McMichael – violin
Ceridwen Davies – viola

George Crumb: Vox Balaenae ( Voice of the Whale )  1971
George Crumb: Apparition (Elegiac Songs and Vocalises on texts from Walt Whitman’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d)  1979
Henryk Gorecki:Already it is dusk” String Quartet No.1 Op.62 – Henryk Gorecki 1988
George Crumb: Black Angels ( Images 1 ) Thirteen images from the dark land  1970

TICKETS: Follow link on the Syzygy Website

Date: Saturday 19 November 2011 — 7:30 pm

Arcko gig – Saturday 8 October

If you’re in town this weekend (as I will now be… camping trip FAIL!):

Arcko Symphonic Project

This Saturday, 8 October 2011, 7pm @ Northcote Town Hall


First performances of works by Simon Charles and Felipe Pinot d’Aguiar are presented alongside some recent and less recent compositions by J. Bostock, E. Gyger and J. Dreyfus in a celebration of Australian Music for large ensemble.

Experience these young composers as their works are brought to life for the first time by the dynamic Arcko Symphonic Project, who also fulfill their ambition of re-performing works as they revisit Gyger’s whirlwind Wilderness of Mirrors with Karen Heath as soloist, review Dreyfus’ Good Question and revive Bostock’s Concerto for Chamber Orchestra.

In the visually and acoustically welcoming Northcote Town Hall come and experience the energy, precision and passion of the Arcko Symphonic Project.

Saturday October 8 at 7pm
Northcote Town Hall
189 High St., Northcote

TIX: $27 (full), $20 (seniors), $15 (children)

BOOKINGS: 9481 9500 or www.northcotetownhall.com.au
ENQUIRIES: info@arckosymphonicproject.org.au