10.5: Celestaphone (Half-isode) (Transcript)

Tour Guide This is Keith. Everyone say, “Hi Keith!”

Children Hi!

Keith It’s got a pedal that I’m gonna be using that controls the sound of the bars. So I can make it sound like this….or I can make it sound kind of muted….like that and this just stops the sound waves that you guys saw… 

Craig Shank Hey, I’m Craig Shank.

George Drake Jr. And I’m George Drake Jr. This is an Everything Sounds half-isode.

Craig Shank Halfisode? Really?

George Drake Jr. Yeah. It’s not a full episode but it’s just as awesome.

Craig Shank Ok. Is that really the best we can do?

George Drake Jr. I think so, yeah.

Craig Shank Alright, well we’ll talk about that later. Let’s keep going.

George Drake Jr. No we won’t.

Craig Shank *laughter* Ok.

George Drake Jr. That clip was a tour group as they were about to hear something that has rarely been heard. Since the episode where we took a tour of their facility, we’ve been in touch with the folks at the Rhythm! Discovery Center in Indianapolis and they wanted us to share something special with you.

Craig Shank Remember Clair Omar Musser? The eccentric musician, composer, and inventor? We discussed one of his most unique and creative instruments:

George Drake Jr. And the most impressive piece is his celestaphone. He collected over thirteen hundred pounds of meteorites over four decades and took around half of that collection to create what is basically a space xylophone.

Matthew Altizer So, the bars and the frame are all space rock. It’s the only one ever created in the world and we’re lucky enough to have it here at our museum housed as part of the archives. So, it’s just amazing to think that, you know, six hundred and…it said six hundred and seventy eight pounds of meteorite material were metled down to build this one instrument.

Craig Shank While it took almost 700 pounds of meteorites to create, it only weighs about 80 pounds, but consider this. This instrument is made of material that was literally from out of this world.

Matthew Altizer It’s just amazing to look at and think that, you know, this is material that was floating around outside of earth.

Craig Shank Back to that tour group. The Rhythm! Discovery Center recently decided to record the celestaphone so visitors could know what it sounded like and they wanted to share those sounds with you too. So, for one of the first times in human history, anywhere, this is a recording of an instrument made of meteorites.

George Drake Jr. It’s quite possibly the last time in history that this instrument will ever be played live.

*Celestaphone Audio*

George Drake Jr Special thanks to the Percussive Arts Society, Rhythm! Discovery Center, and Matthew Altizer for sharing this with us. You can find links about those organizations on our website, everything sounds dot org and seriously, if you ever find yourself in Indianapolis, try to make some time to visit the museum and see the celestaphone and the rest of their collection in person. You won’t regret it.

Craig Shank Thanks for listening to this Everything Sounds half-isode. I’m Craig Shank.

George Drake Jr. And I’m George Drake Jr.

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