Wah-wah tubes

At the end of 2011 the Language School acquired a bit of extra funding for new instruments and invited my input as to what they should buy. I felt we were well supplied with hand-drums and wooden sounds (xylophones, wood blocks, etc), so suggested a number of metal instruments with very resonant, beautiful tones.

They bought an alto metalaphone (Optimum Percussion brand, with a very well-designed dampening bar), a set of 8 alto chime bars (same as the ones I used in Timor-Leste), and a set of 5 wah-wah tubes.

Last Tuesday was my first day back at the Language School, and we got to unwrap the wah-wah tubes from their packaging and try them out, as you can see in this short clip.

They are very effective, aren’t they? I love the fact that the mallets are quite small – no matter how strenuously the children try to whack the tubes, the sound remains gentle, and the rubber head of the mallet just bounces gently off the metal, no stress, no strain. After a while, they stop trying to beat it so hard and just get absorbed in the warm, shimmering sounds.

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