Shawn L. Bird

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kantele & noodles May 20, 2013

Filed under: fun — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:10 am
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A few months back I posted about how I’d purchased a Finnish kantele (direct from Finland).  It was by way of avoiding getting back to playing my harps, and I entertained myself noodling away on the five strings of my kantele for months.  At the moment I have both harps back in circulation, but I still reach for the little kantele.  It’s ‘no brain’ music for me, and I play it when I want to re-focus from some task (usually editing).

Here is my little kantele.  It is tuned to a pentatonic scale.  That is like the black notes of a piano.  The notes are whole tones and so every string fits nicely with every other.  You can’t play two dissonant notes when you’re tuned pentatonically (providing you’re in tune!).   I noodle away, and most of my tunes sound more or less the same.  I make them up every time, but there are only 5 strings, and I seem to make the same patterns, so my kantele playing always sounds something like this (with apologies for the terrible recording quality from my iPhone’s voice memo app).  Here are 30 seconds of the 2 minutes I uploaded (not sure what happened to the other 1:30 minutes!)



I’m feeling all  (more…)


New arrival December 9, 2012

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:46 pm
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 My Christmas wish list included only one item this year: a kantele.

A kantele is a traditional musical instrument from Finland.  It’s a psaltery type stringed instrument.  When I was in Finland the last couple of times I looked for one without success.  Now through eBay I’ve found a company, and I have the most basic version, a little 5 string, on its way from Melodia Soitin of Finland!  If you visit their site, you can hear the sound of a larger kantele.  The wire strings make a sound quite different from my harps which are nylon strung.

Here is a youtube video of a lesson on how to play and tune this size of kantele:


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