Musical Stones

An ancient lithophone sampled with a Rode NT1-a.

The story

Musical Stones – by Harry Binns

Situated in the heart of the Lake District, this lithophone sits in the Keswick Museum. It was built in 1840 after 13 years of construction. It is the second of 2 built. The first built in 1785 consisted of only 2 octaves, this lithophone has a 5 octave range and is tuned more accurately. The stones are slate taken from the nearby mountain Skiddaw, which stands as the 6th highest peak in England. It’s also where I grew up.

The instrument itself which is in the Keswick Museum, toured around the UK and Europe during the 19th century. At one point it was played in a private performance for Queen Victoria in London.

The sampling of this instrument is fairly basic due to my limited setup. It was recorded using only a single Rode NT1-a (I made it stereo within the exs24). I only had a short period of time to record the samples just after the museum had closed. There were still a few people about and cleaners using hovers. This means there are quite a few artefacts. However, I find it sounds best with a large long reverb.

I hope you have as much fun playing with this as I have and I hope to re sample it someday to a higher quality.

Reviews for Musical Stones

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • One of a kind pitched percussion!

    Really enjoying writing with this instrument, it has great dynamic range! I love being able to get very quiet with a percussion instrument. It definitely is reminiscent of a Xylophone/Marimba crossover, but the stone sound is blatant and adds a lot of unique character. I think this is a perfect instrument for a number video game settings that need that striped back tribal version of a theme, using this for a melody variation. It also reminded me of an intro to a Karnivool song that just has a few notes on possibly a Xylophone with distortion, before the full band comes in. Very unique, I'll be using this quite a lot I think!

    Ada Maskil06 November 2021
  • Interesting instrument

    This is a very interesting instrument to play with, I can imagine this being used in many different situations, mainly with reverb applied. The middle range sounds like a marimba and the lower range is very unique and reminds more to stones than to other materials.

    OsvaldoDeJesusG29 October 2021
  • Sounds like a special kind of xylophone

    It really sounds like a very special xylophone to me. It plays well, but by default, it is very lown on volume, so I suggest bringing it up a little bit. It also seems to me that it has some fidelity issues, so I am sure that some noise reduction would really make it shine. A great concept with great potential!

    Alex Raptakis03 November 2021
  • General Bell-is Sound

    Musical stones at its finest! Has a Fred Flintstone vibe to it. The lower octaves have some interesting textures to explore. This would sound great with some FX and layered with other sounds. Enjoy!

    dafingaz13 October 2021
  • Really dynamic and creative.

    First off this instrument is really dynamic which is awesome. I wish more of these bell type instruments would be as dynamic as this. The concept of this library is also pretty creative, however there are many similar bell type instruments i prefer on pianobook. I dont find the resonances on this one to be particularly pleasing compared to other similar libraries. There is also noise present as well as some clicking in the samples. Its a really cool instrument overall, there are just others i prefer on pianobook

    septemberwalk13 November 2021
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