Musical Instruments

Making musical instruments was the path that led me from music to sculpture. I was inspired particularly by African instruments, their sounds their forms and their use of materials.

LLECHIPHONES (Slate Marimbas)

The llechiphone is a new instrument that I developed while working in North Wales in 1986. The form is similar to the African marimba and western xylophone but the sound bars are made of slate instead of wood, and the resonators are tubes made from wood, plastic or aluminium rather than gourds. Therefore the technical name is lithophone. I make the frames from domestic hardwoods, normally ash or oak.

!Listen! to hear sound of llechiphones (mp3 file size 5Mb)
!CD! for details of buying recordings of llechiphones.

See also my article "Slate" in Experimental Musical Instruments.



I started making karimbas in 1982. They are based on a type of mbira widely used by the Shona people in Zimbabwe. The main differences between mine and the traditional instrument are the sound box and the buzzers. Traditionally the keys are mounted on a board and this is played inside a large pumpkin sized gourd. I have replaced this with a hollowed out box. Most commonly the buzzers are made from bottle tops instead of the detachable wire and tin gadget that I use.

!Listen! to hear sound of karimbas with double bass and llechiphone, played by Benoît Keller and Pierre Corbi (mp3 file size 6Mb)
!CD! for details of buying recordings of karimba.

Text and images © copyright Will Menter.

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