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¿How does it work?
The chromatic udu, just like the traditional one, has two holes, one to be beaten and thus make the inner air vibrate, and another one for projecting the sound.
When beating the hole and keeping it closed one of the basic notes is generated, the other basic note sounds when hitting the hole without keeping it closed or opening the hole while the air is still vibrating.
The rest of the notes of the scale are produced by partially closing the upper tube. All the notes within an octave can be generated with this instrument.
¿Is it easy to play?
Yes. After singing and whistling it is the easiest way to make melodies.
The technique is so simple that it is not hard to automatize it and so the music can flow effortlessly.
¿How can I amplify the sound?
In order to amplify the sound you need:
- A small microphone, of the kind that runs with a battery
- An electric guitar amp, or an active speaker, or even a regular home sound system.
- Between the mic and the amp you must set a pedal or gadget for the note inside the udu and outside it don't match. This is the way to avoid feedback. You may use an octaver, a pitch shifter, a harmonizer, a ring modulator, etc... that is, any gadget that modifies the pitch of the amplified note so that it isn't the same as the one sounding inside the udu.
¿Which are the possible tunings?
The two basic notes are set at an interval of a perfect fourth.
The lowest pitched tuning I make is A2-D3 (range: A1-D3), and the highest pitched one is A3-D4 (range A2-D4).
When using a pitch shifter you can not only amplify the sound but also modify the pitch of the instrument. It would do a similar job as a capo does in a guitar.
¿What kind of music can I play?
The melodic udu makes melodies, it doesn't do percussive sounds (without a definite pitch) nor simultaneous sounds (chords).
The melodic udu's musical possibilities, just like its role in music groups are wide, but it is yet unexplored territory.