Created by Nathan Stodola for his mechanical engineering senior project at Union College, the fire organ is a musical instrument that uses the laws of thermoacoustics to create the oscillations in the air we hear as sound. Like traditional organs, the pyrophone ("flame sound") has one pipe for each playable note, activated by a piano keyboard. However, the sound in this instrument is produced by a temperature difference imposed across a stack of closely packed channels. The hot temperature is maintained by propane flames and the other end of the stack is kept cold by running liquid nitrogen through a heat exchanger. Boasting a range of 14 notes, the organ is one o
The dulcimer is one of the few old American stringed instruments. It`s ancestor, the scheithlot, was found in the late 1700`s in Pennsylvania. The Appalachian people changed this instrument and came up with the dulcimer in the 1800`s. The word dulcimer means "sweet song", and that describes it well. The Appalachian dulcimer is shaped like an hourglass, or like a woman, as many say. In those days women playing a stringed instrument were not allowed to stand in front of the men. So, they played the dulcimer, which was played on the lap. Originally the dulcimer was strummed with a quill. It can be played with a pick, bowed, fingerpicked, or with a short piece of dowel called a "noter". Different playing styles are used to bring out different sounds. Many chords can also be played on this instrument. Dulcimers are handmade and very beautiful. Most dulcimers have three to five strings, and while tuning modes can vary, usually only the first string is used to play melody, while the other strings provide drone accompaniment and backing chords.
This dulcimer was custom made by Homer Ledford of Kentucky, considered to be a living legend and master craftsman of the instrument. It is made from Yellow Poplar wood that is over 100 years old, salvaged from planks that were once slave cabins.