I was at my friend’s house several months ago and noticed what looked like a xylophone on his coffee table. It was rather nondescript looking but when I struck the mallet to the metal bars it produced very mesmerizing tones. I asked my friend where he bought it, and he said it was given as a gift. Needless to say, I really wanted one and looked all over the Internet but all I could find were xylophones. This was not a typical xylophone.
In my search, I stumbled upon a website called tonguedrum.com which piqued my interest. I listened to some tongue drum audio samples on their site and fell in love with the sounds they produced- a haunting, beautiful sound reminiscent of a Caribbean steel drum with wooden overtones. I learned that one of the producers of the movie “Crash” had bought one and was using it in his next soundtrack…Cool.
Anyway, I ordered their smallest tongue drum and it arrived last week. It is made of solid hardwood with slits or tongues that you hit with a mallet. The sound just resonates throughout the wooden box and fills the room with a organic, tropical sound. The designer says the instrument is tuned so you cannot hit a bad note which I found to be the case ( I never learned to read music notes).
Recently I attended a musical toning circle, and saw the xylophone instrument that I had been looking for!!. The official name of the instrument is a Freenote Wing and it is made by Richard Cooke. I found his website at www.freenotes.net. He creates a variety of gamelan-like instruments and says they are often used in music therapy because they are so easy to play. The sound just continues on after you hit the metal bars, very relaxing and fun. Apparently these instruments are also used by music therapists to help people and their loved ones deal with terminal diseases.
Whenever I feel anxious or unhappy, I go outside and play one of these instruments until the noxious feeling goes away. Both these instruments encourage me to focus my attention in the moment helping me to forget whatever is racing through my mind.