Thursday, 23 October 2014

Temple Blocks...

I am prone to compulsion. I become single-minded in pursuit of my goal.

I've developed an unhealthy interest in the history of the drum kit. How did it get to look like that? What led to that configuration?

More or less like this:

Generic Drum Kit

It starts with the demise of the marching band where Bass Drum, Cymbal, and Snare Drum would each have been played by individual performers. Not having to march means the three elements could be combined and played by one person. Probably the same person who plays the drums in most young people's cars.

Into the early part of the 20th century the sit-down kit starts to appear in the form of the 'Contraption' or 'Trap' kit which augments the basic three elements with anything that would make a noise.

Many of the anythings seem to have been Asian in origin. The toms appear to be traditional 19th century Xiao Tanggu or ceremonial hall drums annnnnnd, temple blocks.

I bought a cheap (poor quality) temple block from eBay to add to my collection of things that make good noises. It wasn't enough...

Just for the cheap-thrill of bidding to lose I bid on a set of four 'antique' temple blocks. I was convinced some drummer would spot them and snap them up so I only bid £20 knowing it was a ridiculously low amount for items of such rarity..

So, I won four 'antique' temple blocks.

Here's what the seller had to say about them:

Four genuine Chinese Temple Blocks with 3 beaters, complete with original Chinese cardboard box. I bought these items from an antique shop in Zhouzhuang, an ancient residential area of China which has a profound cultural background, during a tour of mainland China in July 1999.

The blocks are carved from wood and each have a distinctive emblem carved on the top and bottom surfaces that looks like two fishes.

The sizes of the blocks are 120mmWide/ 300mm deep, 100mmW/95mm D, 80mm W/ 80mm D and 50mm W/55mm D.

The four temple blocks each have a quite unique sound, ( a recording of the sounds they make can be emailed to you on request ) and they are a dream find for any discerning percussionist. As well as being a fine addition to a percussionists kit, these items could equally be acceptable as a bric-a-brac fine collectors item.

One of them has a sticker on it that reads '¥12'... hmmmm.

Of course, for them to be used to their full effect, they needed a dedicated stand to mount them in.

They now look like this:

These have been the source of much hilarity for both Linda and myself.

Here's what they sound like...

A full set of five 'pro' temple blocks costs £150....



Le Sanglier said...

Nice ending to that piece.