Friday, September 11, 2009

Russian Folk Instrument of the week: Russian Wooden Spoons

See those babies? I now not only own a pair of them, I know how to play them. While dancing.

The Russian Wooden Spoons are pretty much a staple of traditional Russian folk music. I learned this when I joined the brave Russian choir during my summer at Middlebury College.

How do you play three spoons, you ask?

The convex surfaces of the bowls are struck together in different ways. For example, two spoons are held by their handles in the left hand, and the third, held in the right hand, is used to hit the two spoons in the left hand. The hit, in a sliding motion, produces a typical sound. You can also hold three spoons in the left hand and put a fourth into the bot or the pocket. (I wouldn't try this at home though) A fifth spoon is then held in the right hand and used to hit the other four. Finally, if you're really nervous about it, you can hold the bowl of a single spoon in the left hand and hit it with another spoon. In this style, different sounds can be emitted by holding the bowl more or less tightly.

Look forward to next week's installment of fun with Russian Folk Instruments when we cover the Balalaika!

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