Ever wondered how musical saws are played? How they are created?
Let’s take a closer look on musical saws:
How Musical Saws Are Played
It’s worth noting that a musical saw is a kind of hand saw – meaning, it must be used with extra care. But despite being similar to actual hand saws, musical saws – just like other musical instruments used with a bow like violins and cellos – are usually played with its handle between one’s legs and its far end held by one hand. When played standing, however, its handle will be placed between one’s knees and its blade will be shown in front.
When playing notes, one must bend the musical saw blade into an S-curve. The curved blade parts will stop from vibrating – hence, will not produce any sound. One part of the curved blade however, a.k.a. “sweet spot” and located at the middle, will remain flat and will produce a distinct sound – one that comes from the vibration running all over the musical saw’s width. It’s also worth noting that the wider the blade, the lower the sound it will produce.
Notes are further played by drawing a bow across the musical saw’s back edge, right at the “sweet spot”. It can also be played by striking the sweet spot with a mallet, as well as pitch-controlled by adjusting the musical saw’s S-curve – making it run up the blade for higher pitches or toward the handle for lower pitches.
How Musical Saws Are Created
Musical saws are usually made of wood, just like when making wood-cutting saws. Compared to wood-cutting saws like those seen in Peter’s jigsaw buyer guide, however, musical saw blades are created wider and longer for more range and control. They are also created without sharp teeth and might be parallel to its back edge rather than parallel to the teeth.
Other material used for creating musical saws include thinner metals for increased flexibility or thicker metals for longer sustains, richer tones, and stronger harmonics. Typical musical saws are created with 5-inches wide handles and 1-inch wide tips. This kind of saw can produce about two octaves.
On the other hand, bass musical saws are created with 6-inches wide handles. This kind of saw can produce about two and a half octaves. There are also two-person musical saws, which are usually played by beginners and only produce about one octave or even lesser.