Watch: Musician plays a saw with his bow and it's nothing short of magnificent

Originally published at: Watch: Musician plays a saw with his bow and it's nothing short of magnificent | Boing Boing


Does “playing the saw” lose some of its lustre when the saw in question is specifically designed to be a musical instrument?
You can see early in the video that printed on the saw is “Professional Musical Saw, Mussehl & Westphal”.

Not to take anything from the musician’s artistry - that’s wonderful.

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Can someone with a better ear than mine (that’s not hard to find) distinguish between a musical saw and a theremin? cuz, man… they sound exactly the same.

quote from the first wikipedia links:

A musical saw, also called a singing saw, is a hand saw used as a musical instrument. Capable of continuous glissando, the sound creates an ethereal tone, very similar to the theremin. The musical saw is classified as a plaque friction idiophone with direct friction under the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification, and as a metal sheet played by friction under the revision of the Hornbostel-Sachs classification by the MIMO Consortium.

Found a duet and cannot tell them apart:


You can play ordinary saws in the same way-- the bow is not used with the serrated edge, of course. A musical saw maker will just tend to pay attention to things that a maker of carpentry tools might not care about (and vice versa).

The sound’s the thing, not the exoticism.

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Cool… tho I have to throw a shout-out to my saw-playing pal Andy McCormick of Dreamland Faces and his partner Karen Majewicz who had a studio in the “Ivy Building in Minneapolis for 14 years, 2 blocks from the 3rd precinct. After George Floyd was murdered by police, a bar next door was set on fire. Flames drifted over and the studio roof caught the flames, caving in completely. Firefighters put it out, but everything inside was destroyed.” Link here

Here they are, circa 2009, performing “Roses of Picardy” for Brooklyn Blowback TV:


The saw as a musical instrument always reminds me of the closing scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

If you’re a reader of Stephen King’s Dark Tower novels, it brings back “SOUNDS HAWAIIAN DOESN’T IT”

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