What is this weird metal instrument played with a bow?

What is this instrument being played from 1:00 to 1:08 the lady on the left side of the screen.


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2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    musical saw, also called a singing saw, is the application of a hand saw as a musical instrument. The sound created is an ethereal tone, very similar to the theremin, or a woman's clear voice. The musical saw is classified as an idiophone under the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification.

    The saw is generally played seated with the handle squeezed between the legs, and the far end held with one hand. It is generally played with the teeth facing the body, though some more timid players opt to face them away. Some sawists choose to play standing, either with the handle between the knees and the blade sticking out in front of them, or with the handle under the chin (like a violin). To make a note, a sawist first bends the blade into an S-curve. The parts of the blade that are curved are dampened from vibration, and do not sound. At the center of the S-curve a section of the blade remains relatively flat: this "sweet spot" can vibrate across the width of the blade, producing a distinct pitch (the wider the section of blade, the lower the sound). Sound can be created by drawing a bow across the back edge of the saw at the sweet spot, or by striking the sweet spot with a mallet. Harmonics can be heard by playing at varying distances on either side of the sweet spot. The sawist controls the pitch by adjusting the S-curve, making the sweet spot travel up the blade (toward a thinner width) for a higher pitch, or toward the handle for a lower pitch. Sawists can add vibrato by shaking one of their legs, or wobbling the hand that holds the tip of the blade. Once a sound is produced, it will sustain for quite a while, and can be carried through several notes of a phrase.

    Standard wood-cutting saws are often used by professional sawyers, although special musical saws are also made. The blades of these musical saws are generally wider (for range) and longer (for finer control), do not have set or sharpened teeth, and may have grain running parallel to the back edge of the saw, instead of parallel to the teeth. Some saws are made with thinner metal to increase flexibility, while thicker musical saws have a richer tone, longer sustain, and stronger "harmonics." A typical saw is 5" wide at the handle end, 1" wide at the tip, and will produce about 2 octaves (regardless of length). A "bass" saw may be 6" at the handle and will have about 2 1/2 octaves. Two-person saws, or "misery whips," can also be played, though with much less virtuosity, and an octave or less of range. Most sawyers use cello or violin bows, using violin rosin, but improvised home-made bows, such as a wooden dowel, are not uncommon.

    Musical saws have been produced for over a century. In the early 1900s there were at least ten companies in the United States alone manufacturing saws. These saws ranged from the familiar steel variety to gold-plated masterpieces worth hundreds of dollars. However, with the start of World War II the demand for metals made the manufacture of saws too expensive[1] and many of these companies went out of business. In the year 2000 only three companies in the U.S. were making saws: Mussehl & Westphal, Charlie Blacklock, and Wentworth.

    Two other important companies exist in the saw world: Swedish Sandvik, maker of the Stradivarius saw and a company in France which produces a toothless saw, "La Lame Sonore," with a range of three octaves.

    An International Saw Competition is held every August in Felton, California. An International Musical Saw Festival is held every summer in NYC.

  • 1 decade ago

    it's a saw

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