Boomwhackers, Luke Skywalker's Piano-Playing Prosthetic, and More

Dec 15, 2017

Here's a hefty link roundup this week, full of interesting reads and, yes, some holiday cheer.

  1. To start things off, a few year-end "best-of" roundups from the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and NPR Music. Keep an eye out for one of our own early next week!
     
  2. The Boston Globe's Zoë Madonna asks: "How much Christmas music is too much?" Follow her journey through the Little Drummer Boy Challenge (which I failed almost immediately after Thanksgiving).
     
  3. Did you know that a French scientist figured out how to record sound more than 17 years before Thomas Edison did? It's true - read about it here, and then (this is the coolest part), go listen to the recordings.
     
  4. Ever wondered how much bacteria your instrument harbors? Well, now you will - researchers found that the clarinet is the dirtiest instrument in the band.
     
  5. Actor Christoph Waltz, known for his work in movies like Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, is making a leap from movie sets to opera stages. He's directing Verdi's Falstaff, in New York this month.
     
  6. Alright, now for some fun stuff. Here's an oldie but goodie that has resurfaced this week - a Bach prelude played on weird musical tubes called "boomwhackers:"

     
  7. Everybody loves karaoke - even opera stars. Paul Groves and Susan Graham are particular fans.
     
  8. This church choir discovered the best way to pass the time during a road trip is - you guessed it - a sing-along:

     

  9. Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a prosthetic hand that allows its user to control each finger individually, which makes it possible for this musician to play piano again:

     
  10. A different set of researchers have discovered that turning hurricanes into music can help us understand them better. Here's what Hurricane Sandy sounds like, for example: