RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • Pro-Mark 50th Anniversary Snare Drum

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Sep 19, 2022

    Promark 50th Anniversary Snare Drum

    Donated by Pro-Mark Corporation

    Founded by Herb Brochstein in 1957, the Pro-Mark Corporation marked its 50th anniversary in 2007. As a unique way of celebrating the occasion, the company partnered with the Stanbridge Drum Company to produce a limited-edition snare drum manufactured with the same types of woods as are utilized in their trademark drumsticks. The production was limited to 100 14-inch diameter, 8-lug drums, 50 of which were 5 1/2 inches in depth and 50 of which were 6 1/2 inches in depth. The drum in the PAS collection is number 42 of the 5 1/2-inch drums.

    Each drum shell, manufactured using a “stave” method, was constructed of solid blocks of Japanese “Shira Kashi” White Oak, American Hickory, and Rock Maple. The shell was then inlaid with walnut in the company’s two trademark stripes, and the wooden hoops were capped with Pau Ferro wood for durability and color contrast. All hardware was plated in 24 carat gold, and each Remo head was custom imprinted.

    Designed by Ronn Dunnett, the snare throw-off mechanism is etched with the Pro-Mark stripes, and both ends of the snares were designed with a quick-release slide mechanism that maintains the snare tension while the bottom head is changed. Each drum was sold in a brown hard-shell case with several accessories, including a wooden box containing a goldplated drumkey and spare parts. Each numbered drum is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Herb Brochstein and Maury Brochstein.


  • Timbrack

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 22, 2022

    Donated by Michael Udow, 2008-08-01


    The Timbrack is a unique instrument designed and built in 1977 by Michael Udow in collaboration with the Premier Drum Company’s chief of research and development, Peter Spenlove. The instrument, constructed on a basic Premier marimba frame, is a keyboardconfigured, multiple-percussion instrument with thirteen different timbres. This arrangement of the idiophones allows for the use of a standard Western, chromatic notational system. However, the corresponding sounds are not chromatic pitches. Instead, the notation represents specific idiophones that produce different timbres. The rack is also organized so that timbres are duplicated at the octave on the “accidental” locations. 
    Built specifically for Udow’s third realization of Herbert Brün’s “Stalk and Trees and Drops and Clouds,” the 48 individual idiophones, all of which include proper mounting for maximum resonance and correctly tuned resonator pipes, can be categorized into wooden and metal elements. 

    Wooden Elements: 2 marimba bars (pitched), 2 nabimba bars (pitched), 2 xylophone bars (pitched), 2 claves, 2 woodblocks, 2 temple blocks, 2 wood cylinders (semi-pitched). 

    Metallic Elements: 8 vibraphone bars (pitched), 4 glockenspiel bars (pitched), 8 angklung tubes (pitched), 6 tubaphone cylinders (pitched), 4 cowbells (semi-pitched), 4 clock gongs. 
    The instrument measures 69 inches in length and 39 inches in width, and has a height of 36 1/2 inches at its tallest point. Though specifically designed for Brün’s piece, other compositions for the Timbrack include “Miniatures for Timbrack” (1977) by the Dutch composer Jan Dhont, and “Tacit,” “Oh My Ears and Whiskers,” “Figures,” and “Nightcrawler,” all composed by Udow for his percussion and dance duo, Equilibrium. 
  • Max Kohl Tuning Fork Clock

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jul 18, 2022

    Tuning ForkDonated by the Yamaha Corporation of America. 2008-05-01

    The tuning fork clock was first described by N. Niaudet on December 10, 1866 and subse- quently displayed at an exhibition in Paris in 1867. As a timekeeping device, the tuning fork acts in the same way as a pendulum by opening and closing an escapement device at a regular interval of time, thereby advancing the gears and wheels of the clock at a precisely measured interval as it moves back and forth. Spring wound, it is highly accurate, and when constructed with a fork having 64 beats per second (counting 128 swings back and forth),

    it would produce a total of 11,059,200 vibrations each 24-hour period of time. The speed of the vibrations can be adjusted by means of small, threaded weights on the end of the fork that enables the operator to tune the fork up to a semi-tone in range, or from 62 to 68 vibra- tions per second.

    For scientific purposes, the German physicist and acousti- cian Rudolph Koenig (1832–1901) utilized the tuning fork clock to demonstrate frequency ratios for sound and
    pitch, which ultimately led to the standardization of

    A=435 in France. Koenig did this by aligning Niaudet’s tuning fork clock with a vibration microscope at right angles, marking the end of one fork with chalk so that it is visible in a microscope, and then observing the resulting Lissajous figures—visual patterns that clearly illustrate the ratios produced by two vibrating objects. A figure with a 2:1 ratio would indicate the interval

    of an octave, 3:2 the interval of a fifth, and so on for each possible pitch when compared to the pitch of the fork on the clock.

    By counting the ratios, it is then possible to tune other forks to any desired pitch by grinding them to the correct length. At the time, it was the most precise method of establishing an exact, abso- lute pitch. In addition, the tuning fork clock could demonstrate the effect of temperature on the pitch of a fork by observing a change in speed when the temperature was raised or lowered.

    This tuning fork clock was manufactured during the first decade of the 20th century by Max Kohl A.G., in Chemnitz, Germany. It was owned by the J. C. Deagan Company and most likely used to precisely tune the forks and other pitched instru- ments manufactured by Deagan. It was also prob- ably used by Mr. Deagan as a scientific device

    for his research into acoustics and tuning, which resulted in the standardization of A=440 in the United States.

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