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Monochords

Monochord

"I just felt compelled to let you know that your work has been appreciated by many. I have used the monochord that you crafted in multiple sound healing baths and sound healing sessions. The feedback I receive from participants regarding the role that the monochord plays in their journey has been overwhelmingly positive. It is a powerful instrument and it is obvious that you put great intention into your work. Thank you again and know that your alchemy has not passed unnoticed here."

 

Sincerely, 

Peter

Monochord
Monochord

Cherry back and sides with Redwood sound board and Maple pin blocks. Key of C

Monochord

Walnut back and sides with Cedar sound board and Maple pin blocks. Key of C with small overtone bridges

Key of C Monochord
Key of D Monochord
Key of C with small overtone bridges
Key of D with small overtone bridges
Key of F Monochord
Monochord in D (21 strings tuned to D3 & 4 tuned to D2)
Monochord in G with small overtone bridges
What is a Monochord?

Initially the monochord was just a single stringed instrument used by Pythagoras to demonstrate the mathematical ratios between musical intervals.  Expanded versions of this concept means you have multiple strings tuned in unison sometimes including the 5th note of the scale and octaves.  The strummed strings are amplified by a sound box made of a quality hard and tone woods.  The instrument provides a meditative environmental sound attractive to music therapists and sound healers.

How do you play the monochord?

Drag your index finger across the strings towards you from high note to low.  Alternate hands to create an almost continuous sound. Having some fingernail helps but you can use a pick or a bare finger for a softer quieter tone.  You can alter the tonal quality by playing closer to the bridges or starting and finishing in different locations on the string band. 

Construction

My 25 string Monochords usually have Cherry back and sides with  either quarter-sawn Redwood, Cedar or Spruce soundboards and Maple pin blocks. I can build them with more decorative woods on the sides much like my bowed psalteries. I usually have monochords in C but can build instruments with the tunings of D, F or G as well.  A monochord in C can be retuned to D while a monochord in F can be changed to G.  My standard is a monochord with octaves and fifth intervals creating a chord like sound.  For example a Monochord tuned in the key of C  would have  5 strings at C4 (middle C), 3 strings at G3, 9 strings at C3, 3 strings at G2, and 4 at C2; 25 strings in total. Some people prefer that all the strings be tuned to one pitch with a few of the outside strings being an octave lower.  You get some variety in audible overtones by where you strum the monochord with this type of tuning. Let me know if that option is something you'd like.  I can build custom instruments as well, just contact me with your ideas.

 

Note

One thing to remember before you consider purchasing a monochord. These instruments involve the very accurate tuning of 25 strings.  You must feel confident that you are able to keep it in tune or it just won't sound good.  Electronic tuners (free on your smartphone) will help but you will still need to use your ears.

Tuning Options

The following options are based on the pitch designation of C4 which is Middle C.  C3 is an octave below C4 etc.  There are a total of 25 strings.

  • C Tuning : Option #1  C4,G3,C3,G2,C2 or Option #2  C3,C2

  • D Tuning:  Option #1 D4,A3,D3,A2,D2 or Option #2  D3,D2

  • F Tuning:  Option #1  F4,C4,F3,C3,F2 or Option #2  F3,F2

  • G Tuning: Option #1  G4,D4,G3,D3,G2 or Option #2 G3,G2

  • Your custom tuning


Small Overtone Bridges

I also offer the option of adding 5 individual moveable small bridges to any monochord which will give you either a Major or Minor Pentatonic Scale.  For example 5 notes added to a C chord gives you D4,E4,G4,A4 and C5; the major pentatonic scale or Eb4. F4. G4. Bb4 and C5; the Minor version. This option reduces the number of strummed courses to 20 but gives you more melodic choices. If you order one with the small bridges it can be returned to the base tuning but it involves changes in string gauges and string gauge distribution so there is some expense and a little time. It’s not that difficult to do but you aren’t going to be switching back and forth. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 32 1/2" x 9" x 4" body depth (A Monochord in F or G is  2" shorter)

  • Weight: approx. 7 1/2 lbs

  • Included with the instrument is an Tuning/String Gauge Owner's Sheet, a pick and a small gooseneck tuning wrench

Base Price - $475 plus shipping

Check my current stock page to see what is available

Other Options
  • A Spruce sound board adds $25

  • Walnut back and sides adds $25

  • Decorative wood on the sides (like Curly Maple or exotic woods) adds $25-$50 depending on the wood

  • 5 small overtone bridges adds $100

  • A soft case in black adds $55

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