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.


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

  • 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