Kazoo

Kazoos are not just for the casual amateurs!

  • A kazoo is a small apparatus that can produce music by a person humming, singing or speaking into the mouthpiece.
  • The shape of a kazoo is often compared to that of a submarine, and it features holes at both ends, with another in what is generally a raised cylinder on the top.
  • To produce a good sound, a user should hum into the kazoo or make the sounds ‘rrr’, ‘doo’, ‘who’ or ‘brrr’ and avoid blowing, and in doing so, a buzz-like sound is added to those made by the user.
  • Kazoos distort the sound entered by the user, due to the vibration of the membrane that is located at the bottom of the hole in the top of the instrument, and this is caused by the changing air pressure made by the sound.
  • It is thought that the earliest form of kazoo was used by traditional African tribes to manipulate one’s voice, made of a cows’ horn and spider egg casings.
Kazoo, Instrument, Musical, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Toy, Plastic
Kazoo
Image courtesy of Phil Parker/Flickr
  • There is a museum dedicated to the kazoo, located in South Carolina’s Beaufort in the United States, which opened in 2010.
  • By the late 1870s, patents for buzzing musical instruments with similar functionality to the modern kazoo surfaced, however it was not until 1902 that the modern style shape was patented, by George D Smith from New York, in the United States.
  • The name ‘kazoo’ is believed to have been given to the instrument in 1883 by inventor Warren Frost, and the word is possibly an onomatopoeia (a word that imitates a sound) of the noise that the instrument makes.
  • Quality kazoos are commonly made of metal, while other variants typically produced are made of plastic or wood; and not only have they been used as musical instruments, but also as toys.
  • Kazoos were first used in a professional music recording in 1921 by the Original Dixieland Jass (or Jazz) Band, in the song ‘Crazy Blues’.
Bibliography:
History of the Kazoo Through Patents, 2013, Association of American Kazoologists, http://kazoologist.org/history.html
Kazoo, 2016, Historical Folk Toys, http://www.historicalfolktoys.com/catcont/5001.html
Kazoo, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazoo
The Kazoo – It’s “Physics”, History, and Importance for Modern Music, 2016, Kazoobie Kazoos, https://kazoos.com/pages/the-kazoo-its-physics-history-and-importance-for-modern-music

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