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MMD > Archives > May 2008 > 2008.05.02 > 01Prev  Next

Portable Amplifier for Music Box Demonstrations
By Ingmar Krause

Hello all,  with interest I have followed this thread.  I have to
admit, I myself would also prefer a non-amplified performance.

The idea with the sound-board is very good.  Most of the times, when
I perform and need more amplification, I simply would look around for
any given wooden corpus in the vicinity: may it be a nice wooden table
or drawer, but even a wooden chair will usually do the trick.  Having
your own resonance-board surely will save you the scramble for looking
for any such item, though.

I very much like Nicholas Simons' comment to actually request silence
during the demonstration.  To hint out, that in the olden days people
simply would not have that much noise in their lives, but also pretty
surely, that they would have been quiet and attentive, likely will
be an added surprise and encouragement to just "try it out" and --
for a change -- to listen quietly.

Now, so far I haven't really added much to what has been said; one thing
which I wanted to get off my chest, though, is an old time favourite of
mine: location, location, location!

Classrooms might not be the ideal venue to apply this helpful hint,
but in most other large rooms you might find yourself the "sweet spot"
where the room will do all the amplification for you.  Potentially, in
a classroom, this could be the center of the room, rather then standing
at the black- or white-board.

Also, unless you really only have a small crowd, I do not advise to
gather closely around the instrument.  The crowd will actually block
the sound from travelling to those in the back (if you have low
ceilings, that is).

Two anecdotes in this regard (I searched the Archives, because I'm
certain I posted these before, but alas, I didn't see them?!?):

1. My parents once were to present a small Phoenix music box at a
church concert.  It was by far the smallest instrument participating
at the event.  However, we arrived early and secured ourselves the
"sweet spot".  In this case it was a point right under the highest
part of the ceiling, which was somewhat off to the side of the hall.

Now, there was just a "small" problem: this spot was not actually on
the stage.  Our instrument would not be seen, but we could not have
cared less!  After the concert the largest group descended upon us,
all wondering what that instrument was, that indeed couldn't be seen
at all during the concert, but was sounding so well.

2. Not that long ago, I was to play in a large entrance hall of
a theater, both during the arrival time as well as during the break
time, where the audience had the chance to grab snacks in said foyer.
The arrival went as expected but, boy, was I in for a surprise at the
intermission: of course the entire audience had made its way towards
the snacks!  With _talking_ people just everywhere around me, and
already receiving the first mad looks from those forced to stand right
in front of my instrument, I had not many options to save my day.
Maybe stop altogether?

Instead I decided on the following.  As backup I had packed my Ariston
also into the car.  With a few discs in hand I returned and made my way
to the "sweet spot" of the entrance hall.  Personally, I was less than
impressed -- I literally thought _nobody_ could hear me, not even the
people happily chatting right next to me.

How wrong I was!  Eventually someone had made his way through the crowds
to me.  He had been looking for the source of the music for a full five
minutes.  Seeing my instrument he also was in utter disbelief, that
this little box was audible throughout the entire room!

Just my 2 cents! ;-)

I. Krause
Burnaby, BC, Canada

(Message sent Fri 2 May 2008, 04:53:14 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Amplifier, Box, Demonstrations, Music, Portable

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