VAUDEVILLE AND BEYOND
Perhaps the most unusual instrument ever created by the percussion company J.C. Deagan Inc., Shaker Chimes were invented by John Calhoun Deagan in 1900. Also known as Organ Chimes, they are one of the rarest Deagan instruments, with only a few dozen sets still known to exist. Deagan claimed his organ chimes to be “universally conceded as being the greatest novelty instrument ever invented.” Indeed, they were popular among vaudeville musicians during the early 1900s, though they ultimately failed to create a significant market niche for themselves.
Although called a “novelty” instrument, Shaker Chimes can produce a wide range of beautiful and unique sounds. A single Shaker Chime consists of four bell metal tubes mounted in a frame. The chimes hang on a floor rack and are played by striking or shaking them by hand. Or they can rock back and forth via their own centripetal motion, creating lush harmonic soundscapes. Shaker Chimes are based on the Indonesian bamboo angklung, but the timbre is altogether different due to their bell-metal construction. Several performances with the instrument can be seen on Youtube.
With the aim of bringing this instrument’s sounds to musicians everywhere, Antiquity Music created this high-quality sample library of the Shaker Chimes.
ANTIQUITY MUSIC’S SHAKER CHIMES
The Shaker Chimes recorded for this virtual instrument came from the estate of a vaudeville musician. With a 2.7-octave range, they are the third largest known set in the world and were a custom order from Deagan. The chimes were tuned to A=440 and can be played alongside other instruments in an ensemble or recording.
We sampled every one of the 32 notes – over 30 times each – at the world-class studio The Village Recorder. The main microphones used to record these Shaker Chimes were a stereo pair of vintage Neumann M49s.
There are several techniques of playing Shaker Chimes, allowing for numerous sonic possibilities. Antiquity Music captured each of these techniques when sampling the chimes. These techniques include shaking the chime once, shaking the chime continuously, punching the chime and allowing it to rock back and forth, and lifting the chime and allowing it to rock back and forth. To learn more, go to the “Specifications” tab.