During a two-year recovery from tuberculosis at a sanitorium, Ringo Starr was first exposed to a percussion instrument in the form of a makeshift mallet made from a cotton bobbin that he used to strike the cabinets next to his hospital bed. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rin…
Auto-Tune, introduced in 1997, which uses a proprietary device to measure and alter pitch in vocal and instrumental music recording and performances was named one of the 50 worst inventions by Time magazine. content.time.com/time/spe…
Today I learned about the LΓΆwenmensch or Lion Man of Germany. About 12-in. tall, this statue of an anthropomorphic cave lion is about 35,000 to 40,000 years old and was carved from a mammoth tusk. The oldest statue ever discovered, it was found in the same caves as the earliest musical instruments. hunebednieuwscafe.nl/2019…
American blues musician Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the devil. The story is that he went to the crossroads near a plantation at midnight and met the devil, who took his guitar, tuned it, played a few songs, and handed the guitar back, granting him mastery of the instrument. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob…
The song β€œTubular Bells” - most famous for being the theme to β€œThe Exorcist”, was written and recorded by a 19 year-old Mike Oldfield in 1973 who played almost entirely all the instruments on the song. The full song is over twenty minutes long, and is featured on an album of the same name. loudersound.com/news/mike…
An archaeology team in China unearthed a group of ancient bone flutes dating from around 8000 years old and invited a music professor to play them. He tried the original instruments, playing about 10 tunes on them, including popular folk songs chinadaily.com.cn/english…
There is a kind of percussion instrument called a cabasa which has loops of chains of small steel balls wrapped around a wide cylinder en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cab…
Today I learned about the "Symphony of Industrial Horns". A avant-garde rendition of The Internationale performed by Arseny Avraamov in Baku, Azerbaijan, 1922. The Symphony utilized live sounds of trains, naval vessels, factories and other industrial installations across the city as its instruments. khismatov.com/The_Symphon…
Soundgarden's song "Spoonman" was about a Seattle-based street performer named Artis who has traveled the world playing the spoons since the late 1960s. He played spoons and various other percussion "instruments" throughout the song. youtube.com/watch?v=wmkn1…
June Foray, the main voice actress for Granny from Looney Tunes, was included in the Master list of Nixon's political opponents, commonly known as Nixon's Enemies List from organizing a boycott against his meat freezing prices. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jun…
Thomas Young, a brilliant polymath, is known as "The Last Man Who Knew Everything." Some of his contributions include discovering the wave theory of light, describing elasticity, inventing the tuning method of musical instruments and many more.... mathshistory.st-andrews.a…
Santana DVX was actually a real thing – Not only did Carlos Santana produce an expensive sparkling wine, but also percussion instruments and a line of women's shoes ultimatesantana.com/Santa…
Straight and proportionally spaced frets in instruments are only an approximation of "true temperament", or the type of tuning that allows perfect harmonies. A pair of inventors developed a type of guitar neck that allows for true temperament, with wobbly frets that aren't evenly spaced. pmtonline.co.uk/blog/2009…
The movie Sahara (2005) was plagued with production problems which doubled its budget from $80M to $160M, lawsuits among the crew and being accused of violations of international law. It made $119M but failed to recoup its costs and is listed among the biggest box office failures of all time en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sah…
The Blanks, an acapella group, were known as The Worthless Peons on their dozens of cameos on TV's Scrubs. They use talking toys as percussion, rather than traditional instruments. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
Leonardo Da Vinci saved 13,000+ pages of notes and drawings on anatomy, physiology, engineering, mechanics, geometry, mathematics, bird flight, flying machines, botany, proportions, topology, weaponry, musical instruments, art, and more, all in mirrored shorthand written from right to left. mymodernmet.com/leonardo-…
A tack piano has thumbtacks or nails placed on the felt-padded hammers of the instrument at the point where the hammers hit the strings, giving the instrument a tinny, more percussive sound. It is used to evoke the feeling of a honky-tonk piano. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tac…
All the vocals and percussion in 'The Longest Time' are performed by Billy Joel. He recorded and mixed 14 tracks of himself singing. The only instrument on the track is a bass guitar songfacts.com/detail.php?…
Today I learned about the issue of Pitch Inflation where instrumentalists would continue to tune their instruments to higher pitches, before a standard was set, in order to make their instrument sound brighter and more brilliant than their rivals leading to snapped strings and severe throat strain on singers en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Con…
Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone is widely credited with introducing percussive playing on the electric bass in the 1969 song Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again). He stated that he developed bass slapping in an earlier band in order to compensate for that band's lack of a drummer. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sly…
French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote his avant garde masterpiece "Quartet For The End Of Time", inspired by Book Of Revelation and birdsong, on a prisoner-of-war camp in GΓΆrlitz, Germany on the available instruments. It was also premiered there in 1941. carnegiehall.org/Explore/…
Pipe Organs need to be tuned like almost every other instrument, a long and laborious process made more complicated by the fact that the body heat of the organ tuner is sufficient to noticeably change the pitch of the pipe. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pip…
The list of big banks in 1988 is dominated by Japanese institutions, which captured the first 10 spots and 17 of the top 25. latimes.com/archives/la-x…
Today I learned about Bradford Bishop, who allegedly killed his wife, mother and three sons in 1976. Bishop was only removed from the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted List in 2018, due to his advanced age, and is still being pursued by the FBI, as there have been sightings of Bishop across Europe for 40 years. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bra…
June Foray, the original voice of Granny from Looney Tunes, was on Richard Nixon's enemies list. generalist.academy/2019/0…
Nik Kershaw originally wanted ’The Riddle’ to be an instrumental but was made to give it lyrics by the record label. He couldn’t come up with lyrics and his nonsense guide lyrics were used instead. The lyrics were thought of as a genuine riddle and became a large matter for debate in the UK en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
Bill Cosby was instrumental in ending the practice of "painting down," in which instead of using black stuntmen for black actors, white stuntmen performed in blackface. Cosby refused to have "painted down" stunt doubles for his "I Spy" role and only worked with stunt performer Calvin Brown. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bla…
Today I learned about Daphne Oram, a medium-inspired musician who wrote the first ever real-time electronic composition at the age of 23 and later invented the Oramics Machineβ€”an electronic instrument "played" by painting lines and marks on film. bbc.com/culture/article/2…
The details of the Manhattan Project were so secret that many workers had no idea why they did their jobs. A laundrywoman had a dedicated duty to "hold up an instrument and listen for a clicking noise" without knowing why. It was a Geiger counter testing the radiation levels of uniforms. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man…
The saxophone is considered a woodwind instrument and not a brass instrument even though it is made of brass. Musical instruments are not actually classified based on what they are made of, but how sounds are produced using them. stagemusiccenter.com/musi…
Cuban orchestras tune their string instruments to A = 336hz, substantially lower than the conventional A = 440hz, as looser strings are less prone to breaking and requiring expensive replacements. npr.org/sections/deceptiv…
The electric guitar has overtaken the violin in a list of most popular musical instruments for children to play. Some 13% of five- to 17-year-olds play the electric guitar, compared with 12% for the violin bbc.com/news/education-29…
Art Garfunkel has kept a list of every book he's read since 1968, and lists Fifty Shades of Grey among his favorites artgarfunkel.com/books2.h…
Today I learned of Helen, a Macaque monkey who was instrumental in the study of a condition in humans known as blindsight. Helen's primary visual cortex was removed, effectively blinding her. However, she blinked at motions that threatened her eyes and could navigate through environments as if she could see. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bli…
The ocarina belongs to a very old family of instruments, believed to date back over 12,000 years. Games such as The Legend of Zelda have been credited for increasing the popularity of ocarinas and the sale of them en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oca…
Robin Williams was instrumental in the early success of Audible as an investor and creator of the first weekly program observer.com/2014/08/audi…
In 1993, college basketball coach Bob Knight invented a fictitious player named Ivan Renko to expose disreputable basketball recruiting experts. Sure enough, the "experts" began listing Renko as a prospect and some even claimed to have footage of the nonexistent player. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob…
Today I learned of the Octobasse, the lowest tuned classical instrument ever created and whose lowest note isn't even hearable to the human ear metalinsider.net/news/beh…
The world's oldest musical instrument is a 5000 year old set of tuned stones found while digging a road in Vietnam in 1949. zero.sci-hub.tw/6238/f83c…
Jazz guitarist Pat Martino suffered a near-fatal seizure in 1980 which left him with amnesia and no recollection or knowledge of how to play the guitar. He re-learned how to play the instrument, and resumed his performing and recording career in 1987 until his death in 2021. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat…
The Sicilian Mafia was instrumental in the US and British invasion of Sicily history.com/.amp/news/wha…
King Henry VIII was a musician and composer. He sang, played the lute, lyre, harp, and one of his favorite instruments was the recorder. "Henry VIII’s Songbook" dating back to 1518, has 33 compositions credited to the King himself and it is claimed he owned 76 recorders atlasobscura.com/articles…
Niccolo Paganini's list of likely ailments included Marfan syndrome, Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, syphilis and tuberculosis. He was prescribed a chronic "treament" of mercury and opium, with horrible effects to his physical and mental health en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nic…
Today I learned about β€œThe Harris’s List”, a catalogue from the 1700’s of all the prostitutes in London during that period, where you could find any sex workers’ address, price, age, skills, and it would rate their performance and describe their appearance. It was published annually for decades romanticlondon.org/harris…
There is a percussion instrument called a Hang recently created in Switzerland, which looks like two steelpans glued together and sounds like a harp or bells. youtube.com/watch?v=mS8ei…
After Salvador DalΓ­ and Harpo Marx met and expressed mutual admiration, DalΓ­ sent Harpo a Christmas present: a harp with barbed wire for strings and spoons for tuning knobs, wrapped in cellophane. Harpo was delighted and sent DalΓ­ a photo of himself sitting at the harp with bandaged fingers. dangerousminds.net/commen…
The Steel Drum was created in Trinidad and Tobago after the British banned African percussion music and traditional stick-fighting after the Canboulay Riots in 1890. Steel Drums later emerged made from frying pans, dustbin lids, and, of course, oil drums due to the country's oil resources. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ste…
After screening '48 Hours' Paramount wanted to fast track another project from the same team. Quickly, director Walter Hill thought of what he loved in movies in his teens like old cars, neon, high-speed pursuit, rumbles, rock stars, and motorcycles. That list became the movie 'Streets of Fire'. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Str…
The Tornados' 1966 "Do You Come Here Often" is considered UK's first major label release of a gay themed pop song. The instrumental tune featured overdubbed flirty same-sex banter, at a time when violation of sodomy laws was punishable with prison time. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
Today I learned of Henry Grimes, a jazz bassist who disappeared in 1970 and was presumed dead. He was found by a social worker in 2002, destitute and with no bass. After people loaned him instruments and money, he made a remarkable comeback, eventually winning a lifetime achievement award in 2016. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hen…

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