Sleigh, Rocks & Disks


All photos and descriptions are courtesy of the Cowans.

Multiple Sleigh Bells:  These are a 3 octave set of 100+ year old sleigh bells made years ago by the Barton family somewhere in the East Coast.  We tuned them with a file and grinding wheel to bring them up to A-440.  They are grouped by pitch and secured to a tool handle.

Musical Rocks:  This is a 16 note chromatic set of musical rocks tuned to A-440.  They are mounted on two frames and played by two people with xylophone mallets.  We found them 30+ years ago in a creek bed near Monroe, Ohio, while on tour with the “Y.M.C.A. Boys Chorus and Bell Ringers.”  The boys were “turned-loose” in the creek bed to stretch their legs and let off steam.  After throwing rocks for awhile, some of the boys hit them together and found they made musical tones.  We loaded up a couple of bushels in the bus and brought them home.  During the winter, I tuned them with a grindstone and hammer and made an instrument for our “kids” to play “hard rock” music on for the next season!

Musical Disks:  These are a set of tuned bicycle sprockets that were ground down to produce a  scale.  The player twists them on a marble slab, and the disks create a pure, singing sound as they finish spinning.  (Deagan made musical disks too.)