Monochords

Current Stock -  13 Two Octave Zithers
Monochord
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 bridges

Key of C Monochord
Key of C with small bridges
Key of F Monochord
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 have either Walnut or Cherry back and sides with 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. My normal tuning is C or F but I can build to accomodate other tunings. Send me what you'd like. I also offer the instrument with 5 individual small bridges which will give you either a Major or Minor Pentatonic Scale.  As a result added to your C chord is D4,E4,G4,A4 and C5; the major pentatonic scale or the 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. I  sometimes I have completed instruments available.  Check my current stock page.

  • C Tuning Option:  C4,G3,C3,G2,C2

  • F Tuning Option:  F4,F3,C3,F2

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

  • Weight: approx. 7 1/2 lbs

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

Base Price - $475 plus shipping

 
Options
  • A Spruce sound board adds $25

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

  • 5 small overtone bridges adds $100

  • A soft case in black adds $45

The Overtone Monochord

This monochord in C is based on the overtone series. It is a plucked instrument that is acoustically able to provide the fundamental (in this case C2) plus octaves of that note (C3, C4, C5 and C6) plus all the overtones of that fundamental played as individual strings.  There are some Monochords like my instruments above which add some of those overtones by placing individual small bridges on some of the strings of a rectangular instrument giving you those higher pitches and shorter vibrating lengths. What I designed with this instruments is a synthesis creating an instrument more akin to a plucked bowed psaltery.

 
Construction

This version I offer in either Walnut or Cherry back and sides with Redwood or Cedar soundboards and Maple pin blocks

  • 16 strings spaced 3/8″ apart.

  • Dimensions: 36" x 9 1/2" x 2 3/4"

  • Weight: approx. 5 lbs

  • Included with the instrument is an Owner's Sheet, a pick and a tuning wrench

$375 plus $35 shipping
 

Monochord in C with all overtones
Monochord in C tuning.png

cherry back and sides, a sitka spruce soundboard with ebony bridge