HEAR an AMADINDA (regular mallets)
HEAR an AMADINDA (soft mallets)
This Amadinda is a derivative of the Ugandan "Amadinda" xylophone. My version, made of well seasoned spruce 2"x4"s, is suspended on nylon rope and sometimes mistaken for a hammock. The tone is bright, clear, and resonant. It's tuned pentatonicaly (no dissonance) and large enough for four people to play. It's a great jamming instrument sounding fullest with two or more players, and great music therapy for anyone needing to work out a hard day or celebrate a good one. For more Amadinda and Ugandan Amadinda info go to the bottom of the page.
(recorded soft so crank up the volume)
I love wood! Every piece has its own individual grain, tone,
color, and feel. All the wood I use is well seasoned locally grown
or salvaged, as I don't believe in cutting trees from tropical
rain forests (where most wood for mallet percussion comes from).
Some of my instrument bases utilize old salvaged wood or wood
I cut from dead trees. I find old wood can be richer tonally and
much more interesting aesthetically. Due to using local woods,
the pitch of the instrument will vary with the level of humidity;
but it should stay in tune with itself.
All woods are finished with plant-derived, nontoxic oils to bring out the wood's natural beauty.
The Amadinda I make is derived from the Ugandan Amadinda, one of the chief musical instruments of the Baganda tribe of southern Uganda. The twelve note Amadinda "Ama" - big, "dinda" - keys) evolved from an even larger xylophone, the twenty-two keyed Akadinda; and has eventually become more common. The Ugandan instrument consists of 12 hewn logs laid out on fresh banana stems. I arrived at my design out of a wish to be able to stand and play (not to mention the lack of fresh banana stems in Maine), allowing greater mobility. I also adapted it to a western tuning to enhance "playability" for North Americans.
The Baganda have a set method of playing the Amadinda - one person plays a rhythm, always striking with both sticks an octave apart from each other. Another person sits opposite the first and plays octaves, but a syncopated rhythm. A third person plays only the top two notes, only striking them whenever either of the other two musicians hits a corresponding note an octave or two down.
One definitely need not play "Ugandan" to get some
beautiful music out of their Amadinda. The tuning is pentatonic
(a five note scale) consisting of the notes F,G,A,C,D... The wonderful
thing about this tuning is that all the notes are sympathetic
with one-another. Therefore anyone or any number of people can
play any combinations of rhythms or notes, and it all sounds great
- there are no "sour" notes. This, along with the physical
involvement with the Amadinda, make it ideal for: children, anyone
lacking musical confidence, improvisers, music therapy practitioners,
percussionists of all abilities, and anyone who loves to jam.
My Amadindas are played by people of musical backgrounds ranging
from three year-olds to world class percussionists. They are well
used in music therapy and immensely popular in children's museums.
Amadindas are happy indoors or out and "break down" easily for transporting.
The Amadinda is available in several
styles to fit various needs and budgets: the finished Amadinda
(non-toxic interior/exterior oil finish), the strung but unfinished
Amadinda (you sand & oil), the finished or unfinished seven
note Gagadinda, and various sized raw log Amadindas. There are
also various stands and mallets available.
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