Posted by Percussion Play on April 23, 2014
Sounds interesting and interesting sounds! Let's introduce you to our most intriguing product - Tembos.
Tembos belong to a group of instruments described as ‘plosive aerophones’. This term includes ‘slap tubes’ and ‘stamping tubes’ and despite some popularisation of the concept by the Blue Man Group, you won’t be alone when you ask ‘what exactly is a plosive aerophone’?! So here’s a brief overview.....
Plosive aerophones have been used far and wide across the world. They have appeared in Brazil and Peru, Trinidad, Cuba, coastal Papua New Guinea and countless other places. It’s in these regions where bamboo is grown and readily available that saw the original instruments built. As the instrument headed west, musicians looking for new sounds adapted the material from bamboo to PVC or other industrial materials. Here at Percussion Play we opted for stainless steel and set to designing our own aerophones.
In simple terms Plosive Aerophones are not a lot more than lengths of tubing (either open at both ends or closed off at one), which when struck at the open end, jolts the air inside to cause a vibration which can be heard. To create a useful musical scale you need at least five or six tubes and a suitable stand to hold them within. The longer the tube, the lower the note it produces when struck. Determining the length of the tubes and the musical scale they produce does require more than a little maths and numerous factors affect the tone. Our Tembos are tuned to a commonly used pentatonic (five-note) scale in the Key of C-Major.
There are different methods used to strike the tubes of an aerophone. Commonly used on homemade PVC instruments are flip flops or rubber thongs, however there's no need to take off your shoes just yet! Tembos come ready with neoprene paddles made just for the job! When striking the tube, the paddle will typically bounce off the tube-end immediately, this is important - if it lingers it will sound flat. Then, as the vibration begins its journey along the tube, the (pretty funky) resonant tone will be heard.
As with all Percussion Play products, many hours of research and development go into every detail to create products which will last for many years in any outdoor environment. Tembos will stand tall and proud and with little maintenance will go on creating their funky sounds for generations to enjoy.