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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000241.txt from 2004/10

From: "Lelia Loban" <lelialoban@-----.net>
Subj: [kl] Flutophones
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2004 09:27:17 -0400


Ken Wolman wrote,
>Whoever raised the flutophone topic left out
>the Tonette, which was another of those
>kid-oriented instruments intended to give the
>player a sense of how and why the notes
>followed each other, of how to breathe, etc.
>I don't think Tonettes are made anymore. I
>remember seeing a used one for sale in Rod
>Baltimore's on 48th Street in 1998 or '99. They
>were asking $25.00 for it. Instant musical
>collectible. I'll bet if you go on eBay you'll
>find them being traded there along with
>Kit-Kat clocks and plastic vampire fangs.

$25? LOL! That makes me wish I'd kept the black plastic Tonette a
well-intentioned relative gave to me in 1953, when I was five. I know it
was 1953 because my brother was a large but not yet crawling baby when the
rest of the family tried out this novelty. The intonation was so appalling
that none of us could stand it. My baby bother, who turned out to have
absolute pitch, screamed and thrashed as if he had a million fleas in his
diaper until we stopped passing the Tonette. It sat around in a drawer for
years, until a few months after my brother got his runt Cocker Spaniel pup,
Silkie. I gave Silkie my Tonette for her first birthday. She enjoyed it.
She used to "chase" it around the yard (soccer style) and then, prancing
with her head proudly aloft, she would carry the captured Tonette as if it
were a dead duck and drop it at her young master's feet. Probably the best
use for it -- unless, of course, you can get some dumbs**t on eBay to fork
over 25 bucks for it!

I'm not so sure that a recorder is really much more difficult to learn than
a toy instrument. I wouldn't give the cheapest recorders that sell for
US$2 or $4 to a child unless s/he was a real little no-neck monster whom I
wished to torture, but the plastic Hohners that retail for under $15 in
music stores (or less than $5 at a yard sale) are real musical instruments
that can give a small child an excellent start on clarinet fingerings and
beak-mouthpiece embouchure.

Lelia Loban
America can do better: Kerry and Edwards in 2004!

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