Ceramic Instruments

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 in Knowledge | Comments Off on Ceramic Instruments

Ceramic Instruments

Throughout history, people have used various different materials to craft musical instruments. Some of these instruments still carry the names of the materials first used to make them too – like woodwinds for reed flutes and piccolos, or brass for different types of horns. Music has come from cat guts (violin strings and bows), wax cylinders and more over the years, but ceramics are poorly represented in the world of music. That’s not to say there are no ceramic musical instruments – there are and some will be named shortly. But compared to other materials, ceramics are used for making music and noise far less often.

The ocarina is a fine example of a ceramic musical instrument. It can also be made with wood, ivory, stone and a number of other materials, making it one versatile little instrument. They are small, usually small enough to hold in the palm of a single hand, and for all intents and purposes they look like flutes which are fat and round rather than thin and long. They make similar sounds too, so that comparison isn’t far off at all. This is a relatively common instrument too, and one you may have heard about before. But there are some ceramic instruments which you’ve likely never heard about before, and will now.

Take the didjeridas, or didgeridoo, for example. This long, horn-like instrument can draw its origins back to Australia and it is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world, being in use for literally thousands of years now. Some are actually made from horn, but there are quite a few ceramic pieces around too, and even studios which specialize in making them. Burnt Earth is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a ceramic didgeridoo or other musical instrument, and it’s just one of many different websites out there offering similar ceramic goods and services.

The doumbek is another ceramic instrument, though its origins are far from Australia. This instrument, popular in the Middle East and northern Africa, is a ceramic drum. You might think it dangerous to go pounding on something made from fired ceramics and if you were just talking about a statuette or some other small, dainty thing, your worries would be founded. However, these items are made thick, heavy and durable to stand up to such aggressive handling. The sound isn’t anything like other drums you may have heard – it’s quite a unique pitch and timber.

That’s three different ceramic musical instruments, and there are more out there. However, ceramics are still underused in music, especially when you compare them to instruments using other, more popular materials, like wood or brass. While you probably won’t get a ceramic instrument to reproduce sounds which come from a trumpet or any other horn, they do still make great drums and good instruments needing wind to produce their sound. I swear, when you consider all the applications of ceramics, especially those outside the realm of art, it’s amazing more people aren’t into ceramics.