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The Top Ten

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 11 years, 6 months ago

This isn't even a waffle page. This is a giggle page. It lists the ten most aha-ish things that just never occurred to me before starting this website, and which probably still wouldn't if I hadn't.


My definition of an expert is someone who has already made most of their mistakes. Not that I claim to be an expert on stringed instruments. I have a few areas of expertise, and lots of desire to learn and to listen to others, and to make what we learn available to still others.


And it does have a serious purpose... I may still have some of them wrong...! Note the most in the definition. Beware the guy who thinks they have nothing to learn. With that attitude, probably they haven't ever learned very much. And some of them hide it well...


No, the expert is generally the one who is most ready to consider that they may be wrong or even ignorant. Because that's how they got to be an expert. And old habits die hard... good ones as well as bad ones...


This isn't a typical TOEOT page! For example, there are lots of graphics on this page, generally from the websites quoted. So it may be a bit slow to load, and if these sites change, the graphics here may change too and not make a lot of sense, particularly if they've fixed something we said they had wrong. It seemed a good idea at the time, considering what the page is here for...


The E9 tuning is reentrant

I mean E9 as used on an S-10 or D-10 pedal steel guitar. It's by far the most common tuning on pedal steels, and it never occurred to me that it might be reentrant. I've never played steel guitar at all, so how would I know? But once you look at the string gauges, it's obvious (like many other things).


The dulcimer is strung backwards

That's as far as a guitarist is concerned, anyway...


(from http://www.folkofthewood.com/page4613.htm)


The sitar body is a pumpkin

Why reinvent what nature has already perfected?


Actually, there are two ways of cutting the gourd (the first is the more common):


(from http://www.chandrakantha.com/articles/indian_music/sitar/sitar_making.html)



Sitar means three strings

Three-coursed instruments seem to be very historically numerous and significant, in fact... the saz and setar for a start (no that's setar not sitar... but it means three strings too). Of course, the sitar no longer has three strings, if it ever did, and neither does the setar.


There are at least three different stringed instruments called tambura

Now that's a problem! They're not even very similar... One is a lyre from the Middle East, one a fretted lute from Eastern Europe, and one a lute without a fretboard let alone frets, from India.


And this catches more than a few people out. It probably doesn't help that Grove 2001 and Grove 1995 go different ways; According to the Wikipedi article on tambura: The New Grove Dictionary of Music[1] also assigns the term to the Eastern European variety of saz: for this see Tamburitza... and footnote 1 then reads Scheherezade Qassim Hassan, R. Conway Morris, John Baily, Jean During. "Tanbu-r", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell (London: Macmillan, 2001), xxv, pp. 61-62.


But then http://www.juststrings.com/tambura.html reads in part  Bowl lyre of Egypt, the Sudan, Djibouti, North Yemen, southern Iraq and the Gulf states... Courtesy of New Grove DMI © 1995. But then the strings they sell from this page... well, there's only one set, the La Bella TM40 set, and I guess the website author didn't look at the photo on the front of it:



(from http://www.juststrings.com/lab-tm40.html)


Not up to ten yet... but we will be...

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