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What's a Eukiline?

Phil Edwards 25 Oct 11 - 06:10 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 11 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Oct 11 - 06:39 PM
Commander Crabbe 25 Oct 11 - 06:52 PM
Phil Edwards 25 Oct 11 - 06:55 PM
Phil Edwards 25 Oct 11 - 06:57 PM
Jack Campin 25 Oct 11 - 07:12 PM
Ross Campbell 25 Oct 11 - 09:57 PM
Will Fly 26 Oct 11 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Oct 11 - 04:54 AM
Ross Campbell 26 Oct 11 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Oct 11 - 07:11 AM
Will Fly 26 Oct 11 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Oct 11 - 12:32 PM
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Subject: What's a Eukiline?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:10 PM

The wonderful thing about Eukilines is Eukilines are wonderful things. (Probably.)

But the most wonderful thing about Eukilines is... this is the only one. (Apparently.) I spotted it for sale on another page, was intrigued by the name and googled, only to find several different 'for sale' listings for the same instrument - and nothing else at all.

What is it? What's it related to? What would you do with it? (One of the other 'for sale' listings says that the bow is missing, so that's a clue.)


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:18 PM

Google "ukelin".

They're weird.


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:39 PM

They're the proto-bowed psaltery, albeit with plucked chord strings as well; not quite as rancid than the bowed psaltery (no faux-folk-medieval vibe). There's a Myspace page devoted to them, but the real hip info is that Phil Cohran plays one on Sun Ra's Music from the World Tomorrow on Angels and Demons at Play.


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:52 PM

According to the Smithsonian!!

The Ukelin and Related Instruments
   
   "Ukelin" is one of the more common trade names of a type of stringed musical instrument marketed from the early 1920s until about 1965.

Ukelins combine two sets of strings, one group of sixteen strings tuned to the scale of C (from middle C on a piano to the C two octaves above) plus four groups of four strings, each group tuned to a chord. The instrument is meant to be placed on a table with the larger end toward the performer, and while the right hand plays the melody on the treble strings with a violin bow, accompanying chords are played on the bass strings with the left hand using either the fingers or a pick. Each string and chord group is numbered, and sheet music is provided in a special numerical system intended to simplify playing for persons unable to read standard musical notation.

Ukelins were sold by the Phonoharp Company of East Boston, Massachusetts, and its subsidiaries, which apparently included the Bosstone Company. A patent for this instrument (Patent #1,579,780) was filed December 3, 1923, and awarded April 6, 1926, to Paul F. Richter, who assigned it to the Phonoharp Company. In 1926, the Phonoharp Company merged with Oscar Schmidt International, Inc., of New Jersey, and ukelins were then sold by them and their subsidiaries, which included the International Music Corporation and the Manufacturers' Advertising Company of Newark, New Jersey. Similar instruments were sold by the Marxochime Colony, New Troy, Michigan, under the names Pianoette, Pianolin, Sol-o-lin and Violin Uke. Other names sometimes encountered include Banjolin and Hawaiian Art Violin.

Ukelin-type instruments were usually sold by door-to-door commission salesmen, often on a time-payment plan, and were intended for home music-making by persons without a formal musical education. Judging from the volume of inquiries received by the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment they are not yet rare and frequently turn up in attics and second-hand stores. The International Music Corporation published an instruction booklet for the Ukelin, a complete copy of which is preserved in the files of the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment. A photocopy of its 17 pages, which include playing and tuning instructions and 14 tunes, may be ordered for $5.00 from the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution, PO Box 37012, AHB 4127, MRC 616, Washington, DC 20013-7012 (please make your check or money order payable to the Smithsonian Institution).



Prepared by the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment,
in cooperation with the Public Inquiry Mail Service,
Smithsonian Institution


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:55 PM

Thanks!

Further investigation found this video. Apparently the strings in the straight courses are open-tuned as chords, to be strummed with one hand while bowing a melody on the slanted strings; this image makes it a bit clearer what's going on, although why there are two sets of slanted strings is a mystery. Also, there doesn't seem to be any sort of bridge, which makes me wonder how you would raise (or lower?) particular strings in order to bow one at a time. Peculiar thing.


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:57 PM

Judging from the volume of inquiries received by the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment they are not yet rare

Said with a weary sigh!


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 07:12 PM

You bow it just behind the tuning pins, like a bowed psaltery. The sync in that video is too poor and the camera too far back to see what's going on.


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 09:57 PM

The bowed strings are accessible in the same way they would be on a bowed psaltery, so as you go up the scale, you alternate from side to side. The raised hoops in the instruments illustrated look as though they act as guides for the bow, with fixed pins adjacent to the gap. The tuning pins for the bowed strings are at one end of the instrument, those for the chord strings at the other.

Looks like the one in the OP isn't as old or as rare as suggested:-

eBay Ukelin 1 looks like the one in the video above.

eBay Ukelin 2 looks like the same instrument as the "Eukiline" in the OP.

Ross


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 04:32 AM

It's all here...


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 04:54 AM

Er - one side for the white notes, the other for the black, as on a bowed psaltery... And many zithers have chord strings.


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 06:25 AM

Looks more evenly spaced than that?


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 07:11 AM

You're right, Ross - looking at another YouTube Ukelin video on YouTube the scale is a staggered diatonic rather than chromatic like the bowed psaltery. The entire instrument is just white notes, though listening again this morning to Phil Cohran's playing on Sun Ra's Angels and Demons it seems he didn't bother turning it, or rather left it to cosmic sources to determine the essentially organic tonality (i.e. what other less enlightened minds would think of as being Out Of Tune...)

So - how did this ghastly heap of junk evolve into the equally ghastly Bowed-Psaltery? And how come the Bowed-Psaltery to this day is touted as a 'Folk' or 'Medieval' instrument instead of a modern contrivance rooted in the pre-folky Ukelin? All part of the glorious never-land of Steamfolk I guess. Even today we see Bowed-Psalteries in Early Music catalogues touted with a completely bogus (at least misleading) provenance:

The psaltery was developed in the near East and filtered into Europe during the crusades. It is regularly illustrated from the 12th century onwards and derives its name from the Greek word 'Psalterion'. The modern day bowed version of this instrument fulfills a useful role in both folk and early music. The shape varies enormously and can be triangular, square or trapezoidal, but a bowed psaltery lends itself naturally to being triangular with the diatonic notes of the scale on the right hand and the semitones on the left.

From here: EMS Bowed Psaltery

Does it fulfill a useful role in Folk or Early Music? Can't ever remember hearing one being used as such, though I've a nagging suspicion of it being used to good effect somewhere... Malicorne maybe??


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 09:33 AM

Well, the Dransfield Brothers used a bowed psaltery on their tune "Tapestry" from "The Rout Of The Blues" album, way back whenever it was - 1970 or something. That track is purposely done as a multi-tracked "faux folk" tune.


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Subject: RE: What's a Eukiline?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 12:32 PM

I think half the problem with bowed psalteries (& ukelins by the look of it) is one must bow the string very close to the bridge, bringing out too much of the top harmonic and missing the richer dust. As a more workable alternative I would suggest the GEIGENWERK every time!


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