Michael Thiel's Hardwood Music instruments blend the highest standard of visual and acoustic excellence to create a drum of exceptional melodic quality. The open harmonic tunings allow the novice, as well as the veteran musician, to create new and exciting music. Our careful selection of woods and years of research have enabled us to enrich the simple wood tongue drum with a bright resonance of unmatched quality. Each drum is designed and crafted to guarantee the best possible instrument within the limits of size and pitch selection.
Michael Thiele works closely with contemporary musicians from many countries, who play many kinds of music. Pop, Jazz, R&B, African, Latin American and New Age artists are among his talented clientele. Pop artists Steve Miller and Phil Collins regularly use Michael's drums in their music.
By manipulating variables such as type and thickness of wood and the number and pattern of keys Michael is able to craft drums to an artist's tonal specifications.
"...the heritage of playing wooden drums is a very ancient one. And as I did the research into the history of this type of instrument, it became very obvious to me just how important all percussion has been to mankind, and how sacred drums have been to so many people over the ages. This heritage has now, however, been brought up to date from its very primitive beginning to where a wood drum is able to produce complex melodies and extremely subtle tones, rich in color and character, providing us with fine instruments, visually and acoustically, to play and enjoy..."
What makes the sound? It's simple laws of physics. Vibration produces sound. Each of the tongue-like shapes on the drum face is set in motion when tapped with the mallet. The tongue vibrates at a certain speed, or "frequency," giving it its musical pitch. The higher the frequency of vibration, the higher the pitch. The hollow drum body acts as a resonating chamber - a kind of echo chamber - which amplifies the sound. Does the type of wood make a difference? Definitely! Certain dense hardwoods seem to possess a unique ability to resonate when struck. For our instruments, we select woods that are beautiful AND musical! How do you tune it? That is something of a trade secret. But in brief, we handwork the underside of the drumface, fine-tuning each tongue to the desired pitch. We take great pride in the pitch accuracy and tone quality of our instruments. Does it play a scale? We tune our instruments in a variety of musical "modes" and sound patterns. Our goal is to create a pleasing blend of sounds. You don't need any musical skill to play a Hardwood drum. Can you play a tune? We tune our drums for free "improvisation." As player, you create your own music. If you wish, with a little familiarity, you can easily accompany tunes by tapping the primary chords. Is it good for children to play? Children follow their ear. They are natural creators and improvisers! And playing music stimulates important right-left brain connections.
Science has taught us that music has a profound effect on the mind and body. We know that making music enhances learning, relaxes us and centers us, and develops important brain centers. Certain harmonic sounds, known as "perfect" intervals, seem to have the unique power to calm the mind, to sharpen concentration, to uplift, even to heal. Hardwood Music - handbuilt hardwood drums since 1976